[open-humanities] introduction and two projects
david.dave.clark at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 19:36:18 GMT 2012
My name is David Clark, and I just joined the Open Humanities mailing list.
I live in the US, in Arizona; I was introduced to the Open Knowledge
Foundation through the Public Domain Review.
Over many years of studying and teaching English language and literature,
I've developed some deep interests in Internet reference resources, uses of
public domain materials, and ways that both (Internet references and the
public domain) could be used to improve education (especially, given my own
experience, English education -- that is, grammar & accessible linguistics,
rhetoric, literature, and composition -- but also philosophy, history,
etc.). Right now I'm trying to figure out how I might devote more time to
this kind of work, and maybe even find a career that's somehow related.
I look forward to to getting involved with ongoing OFKN projects. I also
have a couple of my own that I'd like to throw into the mix.
I just posted to the Incubator an idea for a Public Domain Reader that
would also be a dynamic anthology-creation
Please take a look and share your thoughts if you have the chance.
I have another project already in the works, and I would appreciate any
input you have on it, as well. The site's called
If you have a chance, please click through it and you should see what it's
about. Essentially, it's an online database that names, describes, and
thoroughly exemplifies patterns of syntax and style, as classified by the
terminology of grammar, rhetoric, and literary studies. There is a lot of
potential in this project, I think, as a tool for learners, teachers,
writers, and researchers; as an effort to make scholarship in these fields
(ancient and modern) accessible, meaningful, and useful to the public; as a
treasury of English style; and as a unique site where we interact with
language and literature in a way that is new and strange to most people --
but should not be. I've written up more in-depth descriptions of the site's
purposes and potential on the homepage.
I knew absolutely nothing about web development a year ago. I've been
trying to learn, and this is the first site I've built from the ground up
(I wanted more functionality and more control than seemed available to me
in relatively-codeless CMS's like Wordpress and Drupal); also, I'm still
working more-than-full-time as a teacher -- so what you see now is just an
early stage of the project. It could become a lot more. Here are a few
* Improved site construction could make it easier for people without any
background to browse terms and examples and to learn.
* There could be a blog featuring a specific grammatical, rhetorical, or
literary pattern every week or so.
* There ought to be a much better way for people to plug in their own
passages and their own tags, to actively improve and expand the content.
* There could be user accounts, allowing people to list and group, share
and comment on passages and terms (much like the social networking aspects
of the dictionary-site Wordnik <http://www.wordnik.com/>).
* The terminological entries (terms, definitions, explanations), which are
now quite incomplete, could be researched and improved, incorporating
classical and contemporary scholarship.
* With added content, the site could even become a kind of online grammar
textbook; it wouldn't take much to craft an online grammar textbook
significantly better (more complete, flexible, useful, and up-to-date with
modern linguistics) than any I've seen so far, and better suited to
creative grammar, rather than just corrective grammar.
* Since seeing all those terms at once might be overwhelming to students,
teachers could create custom databases for their classes, so that their
students would access the site through their class ID and the terminology
would be limited to what they're learning.
There's a start. All those possibilities aside, I hope the site speaks for
itself, at least a little, and maybe you'll understand what I'm trying to
Concerning either project, I'm eager to talk about any ideas you have, or
listen to suggestions about how to get some support so that the sites could
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