Today marks the debut of the re-designed SCS front web page, and the re-launch of our blog. The visual shift—from a large static header image to five smaller boxes featuring more frequently updated content from the SCS Blog and from Amphora—reflects a renewed determination on the part of the organization to use the website to highlight interesting ideas about the classical world and about the classics profession, and to have a more active digital presence. The SCS has taken steps to improve its online persona by forming a Communications Committee (which I currently chair) to oversee the blog and craft digital media policies, and by hiring digital media adept Erik Shell as Communications and Services Coordinator.
When we met in San Francisco in January 2016 one of the first jobs of the Communications Committee was to energize the SCS social media presence. During the last 9 months, members of the committee have been on the SCS Twitter and Facebook accounts sharing and curating news and prompting conversations on classical topics almost every day.
The blog, too, was in a bit of a lull when the Communications Committee first met in San Francisco. Here questions of mission, audience, focus, and scope arose immediately. What could the SCS blog do that was not already being done by Amphora, Eidolon, and journalistic venues that publish op-eds from classicists? Where are the gaps, and what resources does the SCS have to fill them? We have the annual meetings, and a community of committed classical scholars with a huge amount of expertise and experience. With this in mind it made sense to aim for a dual focus, without at all excluding other types of content:
- Professional matters: essays about the state of the classics profession, and about pedagogy and teaching, such as frequently are presented at the meetings. The 2016 annual meeting yielded several excellent posts of this type that the authors consented to publish on our blog, including Nigel Nicholson’s “A Liberal Art for the Future.”
- Digital Project reviews. The web is an ever more important source of information and scholarship about the classical world. Yet the kind of peer review that is routine for scholarly books and journals is practically non-existent for digital projects and tools. In the committee’s view the SCS could set an example for the rest of the humanities disciplines in stepping up to provide expert review of both content and presentation. We crafted clear guidelines for such reviews that take into account the differences between digital projects and books, that make allowance for projects that are incunabular, or good ideas that haven’t had the chance to be fully implemented. The first of those reviews to be published is by Peter Anderson, who discusses the new macronizer by Johan Winge.
I speak for the committee in saying we are excited about the re-invigorated blog and social media presence, and look forward to active online debates and discussions that reflect in some small way the amazing vitality of our field. If you would like to contribute, please do! Please see our guidelines for digital project reviews and our blog guidelines for advice about how to do so.
(Header image: Bronze statue of a horse and young jockey, ca. 140 BC, in the Athens National Archaeological Museum. Photo by Chris Francese. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.)