Thinking with Domains

On October 6, 2015 by Michelle Warren

domain

Graphic by SEO Link Building

As we make progress on the projects that will answer our formal research questions, the process of setting up this platform is raising its own questions.

The issues:

  • on sites.dartmouth.edu, we can only have users from Dartmouth. As we explore collaborations across institutional settings, this constraint would mean that collaborators can comment (like anyone), but not generate their own posts.
  • if we move to wordpress.com, we can open to any users but can’t keep our theme. The theme architecture feels entangled with the remix method in ways that have been unexpectedly productive in refining research questions. It has also helped us foreground non-textual images. Of course, a new theme would create its own productive ecology. Since remix has no one correct outcome, my sense of commitment to the theme is basically about the time already spent on creating the entanglements we already have, formatting image files, etc.
    • and if we don’t want to be a “dot com,” but rather a more appropriate “dot net,” it will cost $21/year, plus $8/year for the privacy perk of not having a home address published. For the time being, we’ve registered remixthemansucript.com and remixthemanuscript.net for the sake of options.
  • in order to have all users and our theme, we need to find a place to host the code from wordpress.org. The current quest!

This parsing of wordpress is surely not news to anyone who’s been working with blogs for even a few weeks longer than us. In documenting the learning curve, I’m tracing the significance of even the most “insignificant” first steps of digital scholarship. I’m also pursuing the remix mission to make visible as many dimensions as possible of the process, so that we know more clearly how the invisible things are shaping the visible ones.

Laura expressed the issue like this: “Setting up the environment for the project determines a lot about how the project itself. Each decision about the environment has an impact on the outcomes.”  We’re not trying to reach the “right” decision, but the most conscious naming of constraints and opportunities so that we have the chance to understand the interplay between background and foreground. As we track “the limits of tools,” every tool is up for discussion.

Incidentally, I’ve been interested to observe that in the famously collaborative space of blogging, there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as a co-written post. The architecture of the post is the individual author–anonymous perhaps, but structured as a singularity nonetheless.

 

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