In her look back at the evolution of Cultural Anthropology’s digital infrastructure, Ali Kenner (2014, 271) argues that it was the journal’s supplemental pages, as well as its theme and area indexes, that set our web presence apart from other publications in the human sciences. Contributing editors, formerly known as editorial interns, have created an impressive archive of supplemental material that adds context to our research articles with links to related content, images and videos, and author interviews.
When the journal went open-access in 2014, though, the design changes we made to our website had the unintended effect of making supplemental materials harder to find. Once a single click away from the homepage, supplemental materials were moved to their own tab on individual article pages and clickmap analysis revealed that they were being viewed by less than 10 percent of our readers.
Therefore, in the months ahead, we will be experimenting with new modes of presenting supplemental content, even as we maintain our archive of existing materials in their current form. Already-vibrant series like Teaching Tools and Visual and New Media Review will start to host supplemental content, in addition to the original web content for which they’re known and admired. However, given that many contributing editors point to the opportunity to interview a Cultural Anthropology author as one of the most exciting parts of the contributing editor program, we are launching a new web series called Dialogues, which will carry forward our tradition of author interviews.
Instead of looking for supplemental material under a tab on the article page, you’ll find this new content in the Fieldsights section of our website: the same place you look for dynamic series like Hot Spots and Theorizing the Contemporary. We hope that this new format will make supplemental content easier to find, to cite, and to share on social media. Moreover, instead of publishing supplemental content for an entire journal issue when the issue goes live, we’ll be publishing this content on a weekly basis—one post at a time—to give our readers new points of access to journal content in between issues.
Finally, the Dialogues series won’t be limited to interviews with Cultural Anthropology authors: we also welcome interviews with other scholars and public figures, transcripts of roundtable discussions and para-sites, or other content that hinges on the interplay of two or more voices. Please contact Marcel LaFlamme at email@example.com if you have ideas along these lines. We hope that this latest round of tinkering with our digital infrastructure will allow you to engage more deeply than ever with the work our contributing editors do.
Kenner, Ali. 2014. “Designing Digital Infrastructure: Four Considerations for Scholarly Publishing Projects.” Cultural Anthropology 29, no. 2: 264–87.