Media Studies (Pomona)
Social media, blogs, scholarly communication, publishing, digital humanities
On July 25, 2007, the Institute for the Future of the Book released version 1.0 of CommentPress, a theme for WordPress that facilitates the web publication of lengthy documents in a fashion that is both internally and externally networked, and that allows for reader commenting and discussion at a level of granularity ranging from the document as a whole to the individual paragraph. The goal of CommentPress, as the project's "about" page presents, stems from the desire
to see whether a popular net-native publishing form, the blog, which, most would agree, is very good at covering the present moment in pithy, conversational bursts but lousy at handling larger, slow-developing works requiring more than chronological organization—whether this form might be refashioned to enable social interaction around long-form texts.
This connection, in CommentPress, of an experiment into the organization of digital text with a desire to promote social interaction within and around it offers us the opportunity to resituate the problem of electronic publishing in a potentially productive way, and in so doing compels a new perspective on certain aspects of the historical development of publishing. This paper will take that look backward as a means of considering the significance of a project like CommentPress — which should be understood not as the apotheosis of electronic publishing, but rather as one example of a fruitful avenue of development — for the future of textuality online.
© 2007 Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Kathleen, Fitzpatrick. Commentpress: New (social) Structures for New (networked) Texts. Journal of Electronic Publishing: vol. 10, no. 3. Ann Arbor, MI: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, 2007. DOI: 10.3998/3336451.0010.305