Challenge #2: Networking (6/11-24)

Hello, campers! Welcome to Challenge #2!

This challenge is all about using Humanities Commons to build up your network. In order to do this, we are going to use three different Commons features: homepage recommendations, academic interests, and groups.

In order to complete our networking challenge, you must:

  1. Follow three or more users who share your academic interests.
  2. Join a group (this one doesn’t count!).
  3. Start a new discussion topic or add to a preexisting group discussion. You can choose to complete this challenge through our Summer Camp group, if you’d like.

The purpose behind this challenge is to encourage you to take advantage of the massive networking potential of Humanities Commons. Unlike conferences which typically only happen once a year, the Commons provides you with the possibility to connect with like-minded academics from around the world any day of the year. By following other users and joining (and actively participating in) Commons groups, you can create a much larger network for yourself. This can be especially handy when you’re putting together an edited volume or panel, or if you’re looking for research guidance or feedback. Networking through the Commons can also be a great way to create more awareness of your own work within your field.

In order to complete the first aspect of this challenge (to find and follow three users that share your academic interests), we encourage you to try out the homepage recommendations and the academic interests listed on your profile page.

Homepage Recommendations

You can find a list of recommended users, groups, and scholarship on the Humanities Commons homepage. This list is curated just for you based on the academic interests you’ve chosen to list on your profile. So, if you haven’t completely updated your academic interests, you should do that before completing this challenge (check out our first challenge for guidance). Looking through the recommended users, you will notice that under each recommended user is the academic interest(s) that they share with you. You can click the “View” button next to their name in order to visit their profile or the “Follow” button to begin following them.

The “Recommended for You” section, located on the home page.

In order to decide which users you’d like to follow, you may want to consider what it means to follow someone on Humanities Commons. Basically, once you’ve decided to follow a user, you will see their updates on your activity stream. To access your stream, click “News Feed,” located at the top left of your screen, just under the Humanities Commons logo. Your activity stream is a great way to keep up to date with all members of the Commons, only the users you’ve followed, and the groups you’ve joined by clicking the correct tab. As you decide upon which users to follow, choose the users whose work and Commons activity are genuinely interesting to you.

The News Feed page.

Academic Interests

A second way to locate users that have similar research interests to you is to use the academic interests listed on your profile page. While you may have multiple different interests, perhaps you only want to follow users who share one key interest with you. Maybe you’re currently writing a dissertation, article, or book on 19th-century Caribbean literature and you want to find a user who shares the same interest and who uploads their work to CORE. Simply click on the “19th-century Caribbean literature” hyperlink in the Academic Interests list on your profile. This will take you to a list of all the users who have listed this interest. Click through their profiles to find the users who you would like to follow.


To complete the last two parts of the challenge (to join a group other than our summer camp group and to start a new discussion thread or add to a pre-existing one), you must first find a group that you are interested in. One possible method of locating groups is through the same homepage recommendation list we used to find users. To find groups instead, just click the “Groups” tab.

Another way to find relevant groups for you is to click on the “Groups” link on the left-hand side of your screen. This will take you to the Groups page, where you can either use the search feature or you can scroll through the list of “All Groups.”

Once you’ve found a group you like, click the “Join Group” button. If you haven’t set a default email setting to receive emails from groups, you will automatically be set to receive no emails from groups as you join them. If you want to receive emailed updates, or if you’d like the ability to reply to the group via email, you should take the time right away to set your email settings for this group. You can update your email setting for a specific group by clicking on the “change” link beside your email setting beneath the header, or by visiting the group directory. On the Groups page, select “My Groups.” To the right of each of your groups, you will see the option to “Leave Group.” Beneath this, you should see a link to “change” your email settings. Click this link to see a list of your options: No Email, Weekly Summary, Daily Digest, New Topics, and All Email. Choose the option that works best for you.

The various group email setting options.

To start a new discussion thread in a group, go to the group’s page, click “Discussion,” and then select “Start a New Thread.” Feel free to complete this challenge in the Summer Camp’s group page. It’s helpful to consider what sort of post might generate conversation. Here are a few topic ideas to help you get started:

  • You could share a relevant text you recently read that you loved and/or found helpful. Ask others what texts they’ve recently discovered.
  • Ask the group for the three texts they believe every scholar in the field should read. Share your own three selections as well.
  • Do you have a question related to the group’s focus that’s been bugging you? Ask away!
  • Share a recent victory you’ve accomplished and encourage others to share their own.
  • Share a relevant classroom activity that worked really well for you. Ask others to do the same.
  • If it’s a new group with little discussion, maybe start an introduction post. Ask the group to share their name, institution/workplace, designation, academic interests, current research, his or her reason(s) for joining the group, and/or a fun fact. Share your own introduction as well!

If you’d prefer instead to add a comment to a pre-existing discussion, you must also go to the Discussions page for your group. Once there, click on a topic that interests you and read the posts and comments that have already been posted. To add your own comment, scroll to the bottom of the page, where you should find a text box in which you can type up your reply. Once you’re satisfied with your response, click “Submit.”

Regardless of whether you started a new discussion or added a comment, try to keep up with whatever conversation it generates. Respond to the users who engage with your post and continue adding new topics and responses to the group. If you notice that there is a need for a new group, feel free to create your own.

Share your completed challenge

Once you’ve completed all three components of this challenge, let our group know your accomplishments, challenges, and discoveries. Did you learn anything through this challenge? Is there anything that you’re excited about as a result of following users and/or joining and engaging with groups? Did you come across any challenges or difficulties? Are there any groups that we should know about?

If you’re on Twitter, please share that you’ve completed the second challenge using our #HCSummerCamper hashtag.

I look forward to hearing all about your experiences as you complete this challenge!

If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:

Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or

Advanced Mini Challenge: ORCID ID

Interested in completing an extra challenge this week?

For each of our biweekly challenges, we will also include a bonus advanced challenge.

The first extra challenge is to create an ORCID digital identifier for yourself and add it to your Humanities Commons profile.


Why would I want to have an ORCID identifier? What does it do?

ORCID is a not-for-profit organization that allows researchers to create a personal, persistent identifier to connect their work online. By having an ORCID account, you and your professional activities online will be connected, allowing you to receive credit for your work. This is especially helpful if you have a common name (your ORCID can distinguish your work from work by other people who happen to share your name) or if you have ever changed your name (your ORCID can link work you created under different names). And, increasingly, publishers and grantors ask or require authors to use ORCID IDs.  

Going forward, Humanities Commons hopes to offer even more integration with ORCID. It would be a good idea to get connected through ORCID now so that you can reap these future benefits on Humanities Commons.


How do I create an ORCID ID?

All you have to do is go to ORCID’s website, where you will find clear instructions on how to create an ORCID ID and profile. Not only is it simple to create, but signing up for an ORCID is completely free!  

If you have publications, you can list them manually or import works from a number of sources, including MLA Bibliography, DataCite (anything deposited in CORE should be found there), Crossref (another prominent minter of DOIs), or BASE (work in CORE should also be found there).   

Once you’ve created an ORCID ID, you can include it on your Humanities Commons profile by copying and pasting it into the ORCID field, located in the social media section of the editing form.

Here is a screen shot of where the ORCID ID section is located on the editing form.

If you are a member of MLA, you can add your ORCID ID to your member information, and it should automatically sync to your Commons profile.


…And that’s it! If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:


Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or

Challenge #1: Profiles (5/29-6/9)

Attention campers!


Welcome to the first challenge of the 2018 Humanities Commons Summer Camp!


You have from today (May 29th) until Sunday, June 9th to complete this challenge. If you finish early or if you’re looking for something more advanced, keep an eye out for our bonus challenge!



The theme for our first challenge is profiles. In order to complete this challenge, you will need to either fill out your profile on Humanities Commons or update and add to your already established profile. Try to fill out the profile form as completely as possible. The more information you provide, the greater your ability will be to connect with other users and materials on Humanities Commons.


Are you a member of one of our society partners’ commons (e.g. CAA Commons)?  Don’t worry- your profile is the same across platforms.


Ready to begin whipping your profile into shape? After you’ve created an account on Humanities Commons, join me and we’ll move through each part of the profile form together.



Before jumping into each step of the profile form, take a moment to consider what central impression (Dedicated educator! Expert in medieval food studies! Artist who works with textiles!) you’d like people to come away with after visiting your profile. Have this central impression guide you as you choose what to include in your profile.


    1. Find the form to edit your profile: Once you have logged in to Humanities Commons, you’ll see an icon in the top right corner on every Commons page. Click on the icon to see your profile.  To edit and add information to your profile, click “Edit” on the rights side of the screen.
    2. Add information to your profile: Your profile is the central source for other users to find information about you on Humanities Commons. It’s important that you take the time to fill it out as completely and accurately as possible. Once this challenge is complete, make sure that you continue to update your information.



So… what kind of information can you include?


Social Media Handles: On the left-hand side of the form, just below your name and institution information, there is a section that allows you to include your social media handles and URLs. Including this information is a great way to connect your various digital identities and to help others find you on different platforms. You may also want to include a link to your Humanities Commons profile on the bio pages of your other social media accounts. Remember to be aware of the central impression you’d like to share with the people who visit your profile. Do you want to keep your personal social media presence separate from your professional social media presence, or do you want them connected?  Make sure you include only the social media handles that help to create your desired central impression. For example, if you really only use Facebook to connect with your friends from high school, it may not make sense to include it here. However, if you use it to showcase your textile art, you may want to include your Facebook handle on your Humanities Commons profile page.


Academic Interests: Just below the social media account section is the “Academic Interests” area of your profile. Just type in the topics and theories you research to complete this section. Including your academic interests is important here not only because it lets other users know what you research, but it helps you to find other like-minded users, as well as groups and CORE uploads that connect to your interests. Each academic interest appears as a link that takes you to a list of other members who have listed that interest.


The “Recommended for You” feature (located on the front page of Humanities Commons) recommends members, groups, and scholarship based on academic interests you list in your profile. In order to receive accurate and helpful recommendations, make sure that this section of your profile is complete!


The “About” Section: At the top right of your profile is the about section. Simply type in a few sentences introducing yourself. You might want to consider what information is not provided elsewhere in the profile. Consider the story that you want your profile to tell its visitors. What additional facts about yourself do you want to share? Some Humanities Commons users include a brief summary of their work, along with some fun facts about themselves.


Education, Publications, Projects, Upcoming Conferences, and Memberships: Along with the “About” section, there are five other open text spaces on your profile. As you fill these out, consider how you’d like your information to appear. For example, maybe you’d like to organize your publications using bullet points. You might also want to incorporate hyperlinks to the universities you’ve attended, the institutions you’ve joined, and/or your projects, publications, and conferences. Listing your upcoming conferences might be particularly helpful to graduate students and early career academics. By listing these on your profile, other users who are also attending can find you beforehand.


CV: You may also upload a document containing your CV to your profile. This will allow visitors to easily download and view your CV.


Automatically Filled Sections: The Commons Groups, Commons Sites, Work Shared in CORE, and Commons Activity fields will automatically fill in by Commons as you continue to interact with the network. For now, don’t worry about these areas. They will fill in as you continue to complete the challenges this summer!


Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button at the bottom of your page before moving on to the next steps!


Profile Picture: Click the Change Profile Photo link at the top right of your profile page. You will then be asked to upload and crop your desired avatar. Your profile photo should represent you as it will be connected to your activity across the Commons. Many people choose to use a clear image of their face for their profile photo for this reason. However, if for any reason you don’t want to use a personal photo, instead consider another image that you want connected with your digital presence. In either case, it can be helpful to use the same image across social media platforms. If you’re participating in multiple platforms with overlapping members, using the same image can help people to connect your different accounts.


Cover Image: Click the Change Cover Image link at the top right of your profile page. You will then be asked to upload and crop your desired cover image. The cover image is the banner that appears across the top of your profile. While it is primarily decorative, you should also consider how to use the cover image to give your visitors a better sense of the central impression you are working to create.


3. Share your completed challenge: Once you’ve filled out your profile as much as you’d like, share your work with the group using the discussion thread for this week. If you’re on Twitter, please share your completed work using the #HCSummerCamper hashtag. Check out other campers’ work as you complete this challenge for inspiration!



I look forward to seeing all of your wonderful Humanities Commons profiles!


If you have any questions or if you run into any issues as you complete this challenge, fear not! Your camp director is here to help. Reach out to the Humanities Commons Summer Camp through any of the following contacts:


Humanities Commons: Post your question/concern as a new discussion thread in our HC Group.

Twitter: @humcommons

Email: or


Attention Campers!

This summer, Humanities Commons will honor one of the most time-honored traditions of the season: summer camp.

That’s right- we’re hosting our very own virtual summer camp for users old and new. The HC Summer Camp will be particularly helpful to anyone who has wanted to take advantage of our platform, but either hasn’t found the time or isn’t sure where to begin. HC Summer Camp will give you deadlines and guidance to help you achieve your ideal digital presence.  

“Campers” will be encouraged to complete a challenge every other week. For example, our first challenge will be focused on the Humanities Commons profile page. To complete Challenge #1, campers will either create a Humanities Commons profile or improve and update their pre-existing HC profile. Please see the bottom of this post to see our schedule and challenges.

During the two weeks leading up to each challenge’s deadline, you will be able to find instruction and guidance here on the HC team blog. We will also track and celebrate the work our campers are doing on Twitter as well as the blog. We hope that you will not only enjoy the prestige of being a star camper, but that you will find inspiration from the exemplary work of others.

Please check out our schedule and challenges located under the “Schedule” tab.

Successful campers will enter the Fall semester with an impressive profile, personal site, a larger readership, new networking connections and a supportive academic community.

Please let us (and the world) know that you’re going to attend the Humanities Commons Summer Camp this year by commenting on this blog post and on whatever social media platforms you use. Please make sure to use our hashtag #HCSummerCamper!