I started a weekly email newsletter, no more than 500 words each week. It’s all related to two courses I’m teaching:
- Innovations in Publishing (Digital Humanities 175)
- Multimedia Storytelling Design (Journalism 341)
Subscribe to my newsletter. I’m publicly stating a one-year commitment to the newsletter. That keeps me honest and productive.
An activity I’ve undertaken this year is to modernize the design and digital strategy of Interlitq, The International Literary Quarterly. We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of Interlitq with the first issue appearing online in November 2007. A lot has changed on the web in the past decade, but the design and technical architecture of the site is showing its age. As I work on this project, I’ll be posting here updates that describe the redesign process. This is not simply a visual redesign but also a technical redesign of the underlying architecture.
Before embarking on the visual redesign, there are several technical steps to be taken:
- Establish a working repository of text files. (All existing content are contained in individual PHP files.)
- Convert files from existing php to a more manageable text file structure, e.g., Markdown.
- Determine information architecture based on content types, desired functionality, and forward compatibility.
- Examine other online literary journals for ideas about redesign, and identify key elements that are desired in the redesign.
- Determine platform for the new site, most likely WordPress though that also requires determining if the platform should be multisite WordPress where each journal issue is a separate WP site. Some online journals have taken this approach.
- Setup a test server.
- Prototype design. Revise as needed.
- Import content into test server.
- Start implementation of new design in a restricted sandbox.
- Fully test new design.
- Import most recent content from current site into new system.
- Migrate design and content from test server to product server.
A lot of steps with many details missing from the above list. Fortunately, I love working on this type of project.
I’m working on a syllabus for a course for next spring’s 4-week short term….not sure of the title yet…I’m toying with the words digital publishing startup. Here’s the first draft of a course description:
Through focusing on a specific type of publishing endeavor, literary outlets, we will investigate the mechanisms that power the web and the production of literature in the 21st Century. The last twenty-five years have seen a seismic transition in publishing from print to digital. We’ll explore what really comprises the web: standardized software and network protocols running on interconnected machines. A close reading of a case study in digital publishing will provide you with the structure for understanding these technologies. A hands-on approach in a series of 10 lab sessions will provide you with the experience to tackle a variety of business and technical scenarios for fiction and non-fiction publishing. For the course project students will assume the roles of a business, editorial, and production team in a digital startup that is creating a new venture publishing e-books in translation of foreign works as well as an online magazine. And in true startup fashion, we’ll do all this in 4 weeks.
Students are not expected to have prior in-depth experience with technology other than at the consumer level.