A Message from Cathy Davidson and Jacqueline Wernimont
(From the HASTAC Newsletter, March 28, 2022)
Dear HASTAC Friends,
Spring is here! Or at least we’re hoping you are all experiencing the promises of spring, wherever you are.
At HASTAC, we are full of energy… and heavy lifting. As you will see below, the HASTAC Scholars have been busy with Digital Fridays, a collaborative book review in progress, spotlights, and other networked activities.
And you’ll also see that the leadership team at HASTAC.org has been consumed with the migration to “HASTAC Commons.” We won’t repeat the news here but simply thank, for all of their vision and hard work, Nikki Stevens (spearheading the migration) and Chris McGuinness (leading the archiving) on the HASTAC side and Matthew Farrell, Digital Records and Digital Preservation Officer (Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University). We also thank everyone at the Humanities Commons, under the leadership of the incomparable Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Project Director (MSU), Bonnie Russell, Project Manager (MSU), and Mike Thicke, Technical Lead (MSU). This is a big move for us and it’s one that we couldn’t do without the support of Dartmouth, including our excellent Information, Technology and Computing team, Jonathan Chiappa and Jeffery Mattson, who have helped us keep things in good shape leading up to the transition.
With best wishes to you all at this busy time,
Cathy and Jacque
Co-Directors of HASTAC
HASTAC.org Migrates to HASTAC Commons
In the two decades since HASTAC’s founding, we have built a thriving community of nearly 20,000 scholars, community members, and activists. We are very proud of this history and know that future historians of technology will find the HASTAC archive rich and fruitful. Now, we are thinking ahead to the next 20 years and building a sustainable future for HASTAC.org (renamed “HASTAC Commons”) on the Humanities Commons.
2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of HASTAC. Cathy N. Davidson, David Theo Goldberg, and a team of scholars and technology designers across many disciplines founded HASTAC in 2002 as an interdisciplinary “collaboratory,” an online network where scholars and students could blog, create forums, and find other ways to share ideas and research freely and with no charge to HASTAC network members or users. A reviewer for NSF has called HASTAC the “world’s first and oldest academic social network.” We existed before or at the same time as Facebook and even its predecessor MySpace, as well as Wikipedia, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. We are very proud of never having shared or exploited user data for any purposes, commercial or otherwise. We are equally proud of HASTAC’s original and continuing commitments to social justice and equity. “Difference is our operating system” was one of HASTAC’s first mottos.
Since its inception, HASTAC has been generously supported by host institutions, foundations, and grants. As technology and the marketplace have changed, it has become increasingly expensive – in terms of both labor and fees – to host a network that is free to users and most participating institutions. The current Drupal site is extremely costly to run and sustain. Every day it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain user security and privacy in the face of hackers, spammers (sometimes thousands at a time), and trolls.
We have reached a moment where we need to take advantage of new modalities and infrastructures to stand up a new iteration of HASTAC, the first major new revolutionary revamping since its inception. Happily, Humanities Commons has developed into the very kind of space HASTAC needs: one focused on open source community principles, creating and sustaining interdisciplinary collaboration, and open access to educational and professional materials. We are very fortunate to find a partner like Humanities Commons and we are eager to see what the HASTAC community can do when empowered with many of the same blogging and gathering tools as before, as well as the addition of the CORE repository, personal and group sites, and the additional network connections with fellow institutional partners in Humanities Commons.
We are excited to become HASTAC Commons and we appreciate the support through Dartmouth College that is making this partnership possible. We will thrive in this space that shares HASTAC’s commitment to interdisciplinary, networked, open source collaboration.
After the migration, HASTAC.org will exist in three places. First, posts after 2017 will be merged into the new HASTAC Commons site. The interface won’t look like the old HASTAC.org but will be searchable. Second, all of HASTAC that currently exists on the Internet, post 2005, will be searchable on the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive. Third, for scholars, a static, searchable HASTAC.org will exist in the Duke University Archives of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Over the next months, we will be explaining how you can preserve or remove your material on HASTAC.org. Stay tuned!