Back in November, as part of Academic Writing Month, Jesse…

Back in November, as part of Academic Writing Month, Jesse Stommel and I conducted an on and offline Google Docs workshop.

As regular collaborators who use Google Docs on a weekly basis to write, talk and reflect, we wanted to share exactly how we work together. So at 11.00am Hong Kong time, I met Jesse in a Google Doc in front of a room of PhD and Post-Doc writers. Jesse meanwhile was at home on a cold night in Madison.

With a rough idea of what we wanted to talk about, we proceeded in describing and demonstrating a strategy for collaborative writing. Our aim was to show that even if you don’t plan to co-write with someone, a Google Doc is still a great place to work openly with another person (or even a whole crowd).

Often just making the plan to meet someone in a Google Doc can have a big impact on your productivity, but it’s also a great way to get a bit of support as you write – you might even get some valuable proof-reading from your writing partner. In fact, as our final Google Doc (and blog post for PhD2Published) shows, there are numerous reasons for writing with someone online.

What we never expected when we set out to produce this Google Doc workshop was that Digital Humanities Now would pick up on it and make it their Editor’s Choice in December. This was an exciting validation of Jesse’s and my ongoing collaborative experimentation and totally made our December!

To have DHNow select the work is also completely in line with the way both of us operate. We strive to experiment in public and reflect – with others – on the nature and value of what we have done. Back in July, my open, multi-modal approach to art history was also selected by DHNow as an example of relevant contemporary humanities practice. It’s important to me to be part of these open experiments but it’s also important to me to be recognized precisely by the very platforms that offer an alternative to traditional publication and peer review.

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