Category Archives: hastac

macarthur and HASTAC open $2 million digital media and learning competition

From Cathy Davidson at HASTAC:
As part of its $50 million initiative on Digital Media and Learning initiative launched last year (, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has just announced support for a $2 million open Digital Media and Learning Competition, with entries due on October 15, 2007. All details about the competition and application requirements can be found at Awards will be made in two categories, Innovation Awards and Knowledge-Networking Awards. Innovation Awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. Knowledge-Networking Awards ($30,000-75,000) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. Primary applicants must be U.S. citizens or residents, however other members of a research team need not meet this requirement.
The competition is administered by HASTAC (“haystack”—Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), an innovative “Web 2.0” virtual institution of more than eighty institutes, centers, and community organizations anchored at the University of California Humanities Research Institute and the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University. Anyone can join the HASTAC network by registering on the website ( and contributing content and ideas, including podcasts, blogs, or collaborative opportunities.

cathy davidson of duke on the value of wikipedia

Cathy Davidson at Duke continues to impress me with her willingness to publicly take on complicated issues. Here’s a link to an article she wrote for this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education (re-blogged on the Hastac site) in which she takes one of the most progressive and positive stances in relation to Wikipedia that i’ve seen from a senior and highly regarded scholar. [and here’s a link to a piece i wrote a few months back which takes on Jaron Lanier’s critique of Wikipedia.]

commentpress update

Since we launched Holy of Holies last year, we’ve made a lot of progress with the paragraph-level commenting system we’ve been building on top of WordPress. We’ve taken to calling it “Commentpress,” and until we get significant pushback (or a great alternative suggestion), we’re sticking with it. This is a pre-announcement to say that we’re pursuing plans to open it up as a plugin for WordPress in March (middle to end of the month).
The original instantiation was put together very quickly over the course of a week and was the dictionary definition of a hack. Still, we knew we had something that was worthwhile from the feedback we received, and we were excited to figure out the next step for Commentpress. That was almost two months ago. In that time, we’ve launched three other sites in Commentpress (1 2 3). Each new installation has seen additions and refinements to the Commentpress functionality. But we haven’t released it.
Why the delay? It’s not because we are reluctant to let it go. No, it’s just that we feel a responsibility to present a project that is ready for the community to act upon. And that means taking a good crack at it ourselves: we want to have a minimum level of ease of use in the installation, a little documentation, and a code package that looks like something constructed by humans rather than something that crawled out from the primordial ooze. That will take a little time due to all the other projects and launches we’ve got throughout the spring. We’re also spending time trying to figure out how to manage an open-source project. Since we’ve never really done it before, suggestions, case studies, horror stories, and revealing of miracles are welcome.
Thanks for your patience, and we’ll keep you informed.