Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beginnings of a New Kind of Publication?

I'm working on a project right now where we're preparing academic articles to be more accessible to a worldwide audience. We've been editing them and preparing them for translation.

Just for a little background information, the main focus of the online publication is on religious articles, but we also want to have other things that are relevant to the church and its history. The purpose is to aid the readers in their religious scholarship by editing academic articles to be more appealing to a lay audience, and also in a way curating articles that might help in the readers' religious study.

The current model is to edit the articles, get the approval of the original publishers and authors, and then publish the articles on a website. The original idea was to create a print publication, but we determined that putting the information on a website met the needs of a wide audience better.

Something that has sat on the back of my mind for a while is that we're making such a great entrance into the world of academic research about our topic, but we're planning on just putting the information out there, then leaving it. That makes a static site, zombie-esque, if you will. We want to generate more interest and discussion than that. And from the digital culture class I took, I know there are so many more ways of using the resource of the internet than just posting and forgetting. I wondered if making the site more interactive would help us meet the purposes of the publication, hopefully in better ways than we thought of before.

So I'm going to pin down some of my ideas here.

We want to encourage connections—between individuals and between ideas.
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The purpose of our publication is to encourage people to expand their knowledge of the Church and its doctrine. Our approach is to provide accessible versions of scholarly articles (meaning we shorten them and edit to include global English).

I wonder if we could enhance learning by providing more interactive means on the website. Here are a few things I've been thinking:

  • Discussion boards. People could talk about the issues raised by the scholarly articles. A link to the discussion would be provided at the bottom of the article.
  • General discussion boards for gospel topics.
  • Some ways to connect people with other (online) resources. 
  • We want people to be able to create connections, between people and between ideas.
  • Other ways to let them interact?
  • A connection to social media sites?
  • List questions the article raises? (This seems so didactic to me...especially since the information is supposed to be cross-cultural, and people from different backgrounds will probably see different questions in the articles. We don't want to discourage them from participating. How would this be a good thing?)

What are some other ways to create a place where people can come to talk about topics? How would we get the word out? What are ways we can engage people in a community so they can talk about things, not just read them?

1 comment:

  1. A great project! Glad to see you wanting to apply principles of online communication. A lot of websites are really print-based in their mode. Hosting a lot of articles, passively, isn't interactive. I'll comment further via Google+.