#HCSummerRefresh: Day 4

It’s day four of the first Humanities Commons Summer Refresh Workshop, and we’re focusing on updating and creating HC sites! Thanks again for the conversations happening in the previous days’ threads… let’s keep it going!

Before I get into the activities for today’s focus, I wanted to introduce @cgleek, our sites mentor! He was a member of the HC Summer Camp last year, and has some solid experience in building sites through Humanities Commons. Feel free to ask him any questions you may have!

Why should you build and maintain a site through HC? 

Humanities Commons allows its users to build wordpress sites that are linked directly to your HC profile page. Once you create a site, a link to your site will appear at the bottom of you profile’s left-hand column (you can check out my profile page or Charlie Gleek’s profile page for an example of this). Besides having the ability to create a professional site that’s tethered to your profile for free, there is the added bonus that all HC sites have a URL ending in .org.

What types of sites can you build?

I was really surprised when I discovered the many different possible types of Humanities Commons sites. HC users have been really creative in their ability to design their sites to fit their needs. During last year’s Summer Camp, I created a list of different types of HC sites I’ve come across along with a few examples of each. You can find that list here. Keep in mind, however, that this list is nowhere near complete. Basically, if you can dream it, you can build it. In deciding which type of site would best suit you at this present moment, consider what you’d like the site to accomplish. Are you currently working on a task that a website would make easier? Do you have a project, document, or event that you’d like to share with a broader audience? Would your upcoming course benefit from the addition of a digital meeting-space?

I’m happy to share my site if you’d like an example. It started as a basic professional site to house my CV and other basic information; however, I quickly discovered that it was really helpful for me to blog about the texts I was reading in my graduate classes. Then the site changed again when I began to study for my comprehensive exam. Instead of taking notes on paper or flashcards and keeping them private, I decided to use blogging as a form of note-taking and studying. You can find my site here. I also wrote a blog post about the experience of blogging as a means of preparing for my comprehensive exams here. I plan to take some time today to update my site… I haven’t blogged in a bit and there’s a lot of personal information I need to update.

Today, you should complete one of the following activities: 

  •  Choose a site you’ve already built that needs some refreshing and update it! Consider: if this is a professional site, what new work have you done? If this is a course site, what might need refreshing? Archive past courses? If this is a project site, what have you wanted to change or add to your site that you haven’t had the time yet? If this is a blog, add a new post; or
  • Create a site that you haven’t yet had the time to create. Maybe this is a professional or project site, or a site for a course you’re about to teach in the Fall (course site or textbook site). Not sure how to build an HC site? Check out our site challenges from last year: (1) and (2). You might also want to visit last year’s two mini challenges on plug-ins and widgets.

No matter which challenge you choose, create a realistic updating/posting schedule for yourself to maintain your site beyond this workshop. I’m going to try to commit to posting a new blog post at least once a month. I think now that I’m working on my dissertation, my blog can become a great space to test out new ideas in a more relaxed environment than Microsoft Word.


Discuss the questions below with your fellow workshop attendees or create questions of your own by replying to this post on our group page.

  • What are you planning to update on your site? Share a link to your site!
  • Will you create a new site? What do you plan using it for? Share a link to your new site!
  • What challenges do you foresee in maintaining your site in the future?
  • What challenges did you face while updating or building your site today? How did you overcome these?
  • How can HC improve sites? What questions do you still have about HC sites?