ScholarBlogs, a platform managed by the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), is a widely-used multisite installation of WordPress available to Emory University faculty, students, and staff. ECDS currently hosts hundreds of ScholarBlogs sites with thousands of users. The third iteration of this web-based platform is used by Emory instructors, departments, lab groups, and students for pedagogy, scholarly research, and news or course updates, and the user-friendly interface allows people to quickly update content and adapt the platform to their needs.
As the ScholarBlogs homepage explains, WordPress is an open source blog tool that is easy to use and customize. An Emory-supported ScholarBlogs instance is available for faculty, grad students, and staff who intend to use the technology for teaching and research. It offers “a platform for public and private blogs and web pages capable of displaying text, images and video. Users can also apply themes to customize their blogs and utilize select plugins that provide additional functionality.” To request a ScholarBlogs site, you can visit the homepage for more details.
Faculty have often successfully taken advantage of ScholarBlogs for instructional purposes. Some instructors use ScholarBlogs to disseminate classroom materials, allowing students to access course materials in one place. The site can be maintained and updated beyond the end of a semester, thus allowing students to view resources even after they have completed the course. Other instructors use their ScholarBlogs sites to teach and encourage students to write in a public or semi-public forum. Instructors can choose five different levels of privacy for their ScholarBlog, from private (open to only site admins) to public (open to all viewers). This allows an individual ScholarBlogs site to serve different purposes depending on an instructor’s or courses’s needs and goals.
The easy-to-use WordPress platform also makes ScholarBlogs great for online exhibits and public scholarship, such as the LGBTQ+ flags exhibit “These Colors Run Deep” by Billy Tringali (Emory Law Librarian for Outreach), which we featured on the ECDS blog.
Another ScholarBlogs example is the Experimental Ethnography @ Emory site. Experimental Ethnography @ Emory is a working group of students and faculty at Emory University, committed to producing knowledge in experimental & hybrid forms at the intersection of social science, humanities, arts, and public scholarship. They recently published an interview/conversation with Dr. Kwame Phillips, a film-maker/educator, co-author of “‘The People Who Keep on Going’: A Futures of Black Radicalism Listening Party, Vol. I,” and Assistant Professor of Communications at John Cabot University. In the conversation with Dr. Debra Vidali (Associate Professor of Anthropology), Phillips discusses “mixtape scholarship,” having collaborated with co-author Dr. Shana L. Redmond (Professor of Global Jazz Studies and Musicology at UCLA) to create a mixtape in their chapter from the book, The Futures of Black Radicalism (2017). You can read more about Dr. Phillips’ multimodal projects on the Experimental Ethnography ScholarBlogs site.
Many laboratories also use ScholarBlogs to feature their work and relay timely communications about important research. For example, the Wuest Lab uses their site to post information about current lab members, post student project videos from the classes Bill Wuest has taught, and feature the lab’s research, publications, and news items. Other departments across the university, including library departments, have used ScholarBlogs for their news updates. For example, the Emory University Libraries & Information Technology Services’ “LITS Online News” site uses the ScholarBlogs platform to publish news stories, updates, and staff features. This ECDS blog itself is hosted through ScholarBlogs. Additionally, some departments and working groups have recently used ScholarBlogs sites to communicate updates related to current political and civil rights events, including the Candler Doctor of Ministry Projects site and Candler School of Theology’s “Affirming Black Lives and Confessing White Supremacy” website.
ScholarBlogs have been in use since September 2011 and are currently managed by ECDS’s Systems Lead, Chase Lovellette. To learn more, visit the ScholarBlogs homepage; for support in using ScholarBlogs in research and teaching, please contact ECDS at: ecds [at] emory [dot] edu