Academic Writing

A Brief Look at Three Scholars

As I begin creating my own online persona, I thought it best to investigate how other scholars go about presenting themselves to the digital world; via these examples I hope to be able to refine my own blog.

The first scholar I looked at was Lauren F. Klein. Her website is titled: “Lauren F. Klein:

Digital humanities, data science, and early American literature.” Her landing page is clean and well-organized, providing a visual of her and stating a bit about herself. It seems that her landing page functions as a brief About Me page, which leads me to wonder what more is said on her Bio tab. The Bio page is nicely arranged, showing both a short bio and a longer academic bio, which cover all of her academic accomplishments. What I like the most about this page is that Klein has included hyperlinks to her universities, articles, and achievements. It’s a simple and intuitive way to reach the content rather than looting around for it; it shows that she has an attention to detail that likely carries over into her work. Her “About” section is definitely the page that has the most emphasis put on it. 

 Instead of a ‘blog’ where Klein posts, she has a page entitled “Research.” Here we are able to see all of her publications (all linked right on the page). Instead of having her works simply listed, she intros some of her more distinguished pieces, which I like because it gives the website a personal touch and makes it feel as though you have some insight from the author into the work and context surrounding it. Another personal touch Klein adds to this page is the “Some favorite publications list,” which I think is a great insight into her persona; I would like to add this element to mt own blog. On this page she also includes her CV, though I almost missed it because it was only linked and in italics (this might be downside of the links is that you could read right over it). Her “Teaching” page is set up the same as her “Research” but lacks personal insight. The last page is “DH Lab,” which leads directly to her scholarship, but I would’ve liked to have a little more information about this part of her career before being lead to that page. Overall, what I would take from this website is that it is nice to keep the visuals minimal so that the information is not detracted from, and also I might want to add hyperlinks so that visitors have immediate access to what I am referring. Her website gives the overall impression of a scholar who is well-organized, highly published, and dedicated to research. 

Onto the next! I chose scholar Amanda Visconti whose website is titled: Literature Geek (love it). Her landing page, very different from Klein’s, is super colorful and will lead you pretty much anywhere you want to go. It doesn’t seem overwhelming to me, though it might to some; I enjoy all the colors. Her sidebar keeps the information organized, listing stuff like her dissertation, her resume, and her posts. On her landing page are also all of her blog posts — this is a blog. The first post was 2009, and the latest was 2021, so this is an active page. It is clear from this Landing Page that Visconti has a quirky, fun, yet still academic persona, and that comes across very well here.

In terms of visuals, the Landing Page is very stimulating, which I think works for the whole “Literature Geek” vibe it gives off. I especially like the pointing hand that directs us to the information tabs. One of my favorite tabs is the “advice for grad students,” it adds a personal touch to the website, which is something I like (just like in Klein’s). Her contact information is linked, and she also links her Twitter right in the landing page. All of her projects are accessible via the Landing Page as well, which is something I might consider for my own blog so that they are easily accessible. Overall, from this blog I’d take the cute, quirkiness and the title, but I would be wary of too much color, and perhaps more organized manner of information presentation. Her website gives the impression of someone with a fun personality, who likes to engage in scholarly dialogue, is willing to help guide those in the field, and who has a large set of knowledge.

And the last, but not least! Roopika Risam whose website title is: Roopika Risam: Professor, Public Scholar, Digital Humanist; this is like my own website! Her Landing Page consists of her most recent projects, with visuals for all three of them and direct links. I like the Landing Page of this website the most because it feels more like a true welcome that allows you to move through the space as you like but still draws you to the most recent articles. 

Risam’s About Page provides a photo of herself and gives an overview of her work; the majority of her page is in prose, talking about her career and hyperlinking all the mentioned articles, schools, etc. that she has had a role in. The more I see the hyperlinks the more I want to incorporate them into my own page. 

Her other website pages are Research, Teaching, Events, Media, and Contact. The Research page gives an overview of her scholarship and then if you scroll has a grid-form of all of her projects with the title and a small blurb; this seems to be the page with the most focus put on it, which definitely gives the impression that she is highly published. I love that the articles have their own home here and that they have little one sentence blurbs under them. It makes it enticing and easy to know which one you want to engage with. This is definitely an aspect I would want to adopt. Her Teaching page gives information about her current position and then the courses that she has and is offering. I think this would have been better off as a link to her profile on the University page, though I see why it might be nice to have the information right there. Her Events page is robust and well-organized, giving all the dates and linking to the pages for those events. Her Media page is similar, each article being linked right there and organized by date. I think both of these pages are effective in their chronological ordering and easy hyperlinks.

Overall. this website is very clear, though not a blog. It has a nice mix of visuals and text, and it’s very intuitive to follow. I like that the sidebar remains the same on all of the pages and that you can click on her contact info there any at time. Her website gives the impression of a robust career and an extensive knowledge set.

From looking at these three websites, I do feel that have an idea about what is most important to each of these people in their scholarship, which lends a nice feel for who they would be as a person. That impression is helpful in knowing whether or not they would fit into your own research or be someone who might be a mentor at some point. All of the pages are well-made and I find myself wanting to adopt bits from each of them.  

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