The Berg Builds Domains began in response to requests from several faculty for more open online space for teaching and research.  These were faculty like Sharon Albert, Margo Hobbs, and Ben Carter who were really working at the limits of possibility with existing campus resources and regularly bumping up against limits on access to and flexibility within the backend of these resources.  An earlier 2015 Faculty Learning Community, on digital mapping in the humanities, made it very clear that several mapping and visualization projects were growing and needing a different kind of space online to proceed.  While Tim Clarke worked closely with these faculty to help them advance their pedagogical and scholarly mapping projects, I (Lora Taub) worked on securing the resources to provide and support a new kind of online infrastructure for this work: Domain of One’s Own.  Prior to our official pilot launch in Fall 2016, we invited a small number of faculty, staff, and students to play with a Reclaim Hosting account, so that we might learn a bit more about the affordances and challenges of implementing a Domains project on campus.

Ben Carter, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, was among the faculty interested in exploring Domain of One’s Own as a space for his research on and with open, public archaeology. Here’s what Ben has been building:

a screen capture of the homepage of Benjamin P Carter's website

Please explore Ben’s site and read the sections under Digital Data Collection menu here:  We also recommend you follow Ben on Twitter @Spondylusarchy.

A graduate of the 2015 digital mapping Faculty Learning Community and a member of the Domains Learning Community, Daniel Liesawitz, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies, is extending his earlier work in his Domains space,  Daniel previously explored several story mapping tools to try to elaborate Ariosto’s poem, Orlando Furioso, in spatial terms.   The work has come to fruition at his domain, offering an inventive way to, “better understand the interaction of the real and the imaginary in the poetic text as patterns and meanings emerge which have heretofore gone unnoticed.”

a screen capture of the hope page of Orlando Furioso Atlas

Daniel has engaged several Muhlenberg students as research assistants on the project, and a full list of student assistants and other contributors is at Please take a close look at Daniel’s project.  We suggest you follow Daniel on Twitter @FuriosoAtlas.

Finally, we’re sharing with you two short pieces by our colleague, Jeff Pooley, Associate Professor of Media and Communication.  One of the early proponents for an open access policy at Muhlenberg, Jeff continues to champion the case for open access and open scholarship in relation to the field of media and communication in particular, and in scholarly communication more broadly.  In “As Goes the Media, So Goes Scholarly Publishing,” Jeff examines recent trends in scholarly publishing, Jeff entreats media scholars to apply some our own concepts and critiques to the world of academic publishing.  It is a piece that takes up questions about the future of academic knowledge sharing, and is by no means limited to media scholars.  Indeed, Jeff draws comparisons and points of connection to developments and publishing practices within natural sciences.

In a second piece, “Media Scholarship Needs Updating: Iterative Article “Editions” for a Sped-Up World,” Jeff proposes

If scholarship is a cooperative enterprise—something like an ongoing conversation—then the multi-year delay from research to published article makes for a stilted exchange. The reality that we’ve labored to understand is already history.

Again, although the piece addresses media scholars in particular, Jeff makes his case by pointing to practices in other disciplines, including mathematics and the sciences.  “What’s plain is that the current system doesn’t work, and that it’s failing media scholars in particular. If we want lively scholarly debate—if we want to join the public conversation—we need to pick up the pace. We can’t publish more work (nor should we). Instead let’s publish our work more often.”

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffersonPooley where he tweets on open scholarship and other topics.

As you read these pieces and explore the excellent examples from Ben and Daniel, we invite you to think about how a Domain of One’s Own initiative at Muhlenberg might help facilitate this to engage in and share your academic research online and more openly with a wider public.  We will explore what we mean by OPEN, and some of the challenges and values of open scholarship. During our meeting with Martha Burtis on February 11th, we’ll consider some of the many ways that learning community participants are already opening, or might begin to open, their scholarly practice and writing online.

Featured Image by Alan Levine, 2012. CC 0