Building the Commons documents the technical aspects of maintaining and improving the Commons network and software. It is intended both to inform Commons users of our efforts and to engage users in the process of designing and building the future of the Commons.

This blog will concentrate on two central topics:

  1. Maintaining and improving the current Commons application and network.
  2. Designing and implementing the next-generation Commons.

As documented on Sustaining the Commons, The Commons was originally developed by the Modern Language Association based on the Commons in a Box WordPress plugin, which is in turn based on BuddyPress and its plugin ecosystem. Humanities Commons used this framework to create a network of Commons sites—MLA Commons, UP Commons, SAH Commons, MSU Commons, ARLIS/NA Commons, and most recently HASTAC Commons. This framework has served us well, making it possible to expand our network to more users and to serve the needs of scholarly societies and academic institutions. However, it has become clear that in order to grow the Commons in the future and meet the needs of academics and organizations today, we need to move on.

The primary focus of this blog will be on our development of this next-generation Commons, re-designed and re-implemented from the ground up. We hope to engage our community in all aspects of our process, from design, to implementation, to testing, and to extending it in ways that we never would have considered ourselves.

Because we ourselves don’t yet know what this future Commons will look like or how it will operate, much of what is posted here will be tentative, and our designs will surely be revised many times—probably without end! We will be documenting our entire journey and very much welcome any feedback or ideas for the future of the site you might have.

We will also be using this space to document and discuss our ongoing work to maintain and improve the current Commons website and network. While we plan to merge new features into the current site as they are developed for the next-generation one, there will also be ongoing work for the current site itself. Here, too, we welcome feedback and ideas for improving the site. Comments are open!

The original crane image on the front page is courtesy of vectorportal.com.