Advance Praise for Designing Online Communities

Owens Book Cover
The cover for my book, which I’m rather happy with. I like that it looks like it could well be the cover of one of the books I focused my analysis on 🙂

My book proofs have been finalized and it now has a cover!

Along with that, Amazon seems to think it will be out in March. So in advance of that, I thought I would share the “advance praise” quotes I collected for the publisher here.

Can media archaeology have a methodology? Does software studies need data sets? In Designing Online Communities, Trevor Owens presents a bracing case study that not only contributes to our understanding of lives lived online, but also joins the empirical rigor of applied social science with leading-edge digital and media studies.” Matthew Kirschenbaum, University of Maryland

“Designing Online Communities is a must-have for anyone designing or researching online communities, particularly for learning. Owens’ work is both comprehensive and eminently readable, a sweeping look at the technologies, design patterns, and cultural forms they produce that is both theoretically ambitious and grounded in examples and tools that will help you develop, research, and manage online communities.” — Kurt Squire, University of Wisconsin

“At a time when online communities are ubiquitous, and in some cases larger than most countries, it is critical that we understand how they are composed—technologically, psychologically, and sociologically. Trevor Owens shrewdly looks back to early bulletin boards and web forums to grasp the nature of these modern communities, how they arose, how they dealt with bad behavior and the inevitable disagreements between members, and how all of this was represented in rhetoric and code. This book provides essential context for our shared online existence.” Dan Cohen, Digital Public Library of America

“Part enabler, part denier, full-on technological mediation, web forums offer a fascinating entry point into the interplay of software and social interaction. In Designing Online Communities, Owens deftly mixes actor-network theory, discourse analysis, and other approaches, writing with clear language and insight to expose the ideologies inherent in seemingly pedestrian historical artifacts — how-to books for web forum administrators. His engaging analysis gives clarity to how the design strategies implicit in code influence the ways we build conversations, relationships, and communities on the web.” Jefferson Bailey, Internet Archive

“An important read for educators interested in using and building online communities. Trevor Owens asks us to consider how technologies reflect and shape permissions and control, and how the managers and builders of online communities wield power beyond simply an offer of “connectivity.” Audrey Watters, Hack Education


Mobile, Bots, Sound Studies & Video Games: Things In My New Digital Public History Grad Seminar

Huge thanks to everyone who weighed in on what I should add to my Digital Public History Graduate Seminar. I thought folks here might be interested in seeing how that all turned out. So, you can check out the course blog/website and you can read the syllabus embedded here below. I figured I would also share the topics of the weekly schedule to give a quick sense of the sorts of things we are going to be getting into. There is of course always room for improvement, but we have reached the time when the semester is going to start so I think aside from fixing typos and such this is going to be the course 🙂

The course blog is going to be a public thing. Think of it as something like a semester long student run Review of Digital History. So if you are interested, you should subscribe to the feed and join in that conversation.

Weekly Topics

  • Becoming digital public historians
  • Defining digital history & public history
  • The Web: Participatory? Collaborative? Exploitive?
  • Distant reading, text analysis, visualization as scholarly communication
  • Designing digital projects
  • “MTV Cops” proposal pitch week
  • Digital media, materiality and formats
  • Spring Break
  • What are digital archives and what do they have to do with the public?
  • Digital exhibition, hypermedia narrative & bots
  • Digital audio, oral history and sound studies
  • Mobile media, place & mapping in public history
  • Playing the Past: Videogames, Interactivity & Action
  • Class Conference Week

Digital Public History Syllabus UMD 2015