CIRCA:Media Commons - a project of the Institute for the Future of the Book


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The website is a project of the Institute for the Future of the Book, a network of scholarly partners with a mandate for "investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens" (from the Institute's main page). More than just a collection of publications, Media Commons is an open platform supporting scholarly blog-like activities, discussion of new media texts, and an open press and peer review process for full length publications.

The aim of the site is to get users and network technology involved in helping "transform what it means to 'publish,' allowing the author, the publisher, and the reader all to make the process of such discourse just as visible as its product" (from the media commons 'about' page).The site currently consists of the following sections:

  • In Media Res, a section where users 'curate' brief media clips by posting a video and a short textual description of the scholarly or theoretical issue it raises. For example, one such discussion used video clips from HBO television series and user-created youtube videos as an introduction to discussing feminist sexual politics. These discussions are interactive in that other users of the site can post follow-up comments. The editors of the site come up with theme weeks to help ensure a variety of topics are given adequate coverage.
  • Media Commons Press, which hosts author's and editors developing and reviewing a manuscript for a book online. Anyone can see the peer-review comments as they are added to sections and paragraphs of a book, and registered users can add comments.

  • The New Everyday, a section described in its 'about' section as "A middle state publication straddling the line between a blog and a scholarly journal. Anyone with a MediaCommons account can contribute to The New Everyday. Selected contributions are curated into thematic “clusters,” which function simultaneously in ways similar to a magazine issue and to a call for submissions."
  • #Alt-Academy -- a place where any user can freely publish and comment on essays -- this helps to address the need to provide a stable url for essays prior to gaining approval from a more formal publication venue. The publish-then-filter approach means if editors review and like an essay, they can promote it on the main page of the section, and add it to an edited thematic "cluster."
  • In addition to the sections already on the site, Media Commons maintains an open invitation to the community to propose new sections and projects to the board of editors and get involved in curation(see the media commons 'about' page, second paragraph).
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