What’s the best way to link scholars?

chatWhat can an international commission do in this day and age?

In the old days, it was all about keeping member lists and sending out hard copies of newsletters, making everyone feel like part of a community, wherever in the world they lived.

Today, it’s the “conversation” part of our lives that we need to cultivate.  Sure, we should continue to have book notices, calls for papers, announcements, etc.  But there is so much more we could do.

I have been delighted to see the outstanding work by the organizers of the Manchester congress in summer 2013.  And it is not only because it looks like an extraordinarily well-conceived conference.  In addition, they are playing with the tools that we are all beginning to get more comfortable with, namely the informal kinds of interactions online through twitter, and the short-form writing called blogs.  I think there is some concern about “putting yourself out there” with a research idea that isn’t fully formed.  But the Manchester folks have got it right: if you are willing to present it at a conference, surely you can try your hand at blogging.

Here at ICHO, I’d like to start a conversation about what we can do in the history of oceanography to promote a sense of scholarly community.  Ideally, this website/blog would be a place to have informal conversations about our research, and to showcase our scholarship in the books section.  I’d like to create a member page that is more than just a list of people who in past years have signed up to get the newsletter.  Rather than have an exhaustive list of people, I’d like to have a page dedicated to people who are actively engaged in research, writing, or teaching in the history of oceanography (and related areas), so that we can easily find one another.  These people should be willing to be contacted 🙂 In other words, it should be filled with people who want to be part of a community.

That will mean, for starters, having your name, along with a profile pic and your research interests. To get started, fill out the form.  I hope you’ll include a URL in there that links to your own home/professional page, and there will be a pic of yourself that I can use.

In addition to that, your participation can also mean more active participation as “contributors” to the blog itself. Volunteers?

I’m a historian, not a web maven, so my knowledge and abilities are limited.  But I’m really excited about what this place could be.

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