Tuesday, June 30, 2009

H-Net to offer blogs and social networking

H-Net, the host for many history listservs including H-Law, is working to offer more social-networking to its services. Jeffrey R. Young writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Last year the H-Net leadership voted to add blogs and other services to its mix, and a pilot version of new services is expected in the next six months or so."

Young interviewed H-Net executive director Peter Knupfer for an article on the future of listservs. While some have suggested that listservs are on their way out, Knupfer notes that the number of subscribers on H-Net listservs is up, although the number of messages has declined annually since 2000. "Rumors of our impending demise...are therefore a bit premature."

Young writes,

the way the lists are used has changed, explaining the dip in message traffic. Some lists now have less discussion and instead focus on notices of upcoming conferences, job ads, or other announcements....

The H-Net service's most valuable items are its book reviews, written by volunteers on each list. Mr. Knupfer says more than 1,000 new reviews are posted to the lists — and simultaneously to the H-Net Web site — each year.
Looking to the future, H-Net's new services "will enhance the service's Web site, which already offers searchable archives of the lists and links to related Web resources. The hope is to let users create their own profiles and post files to their H-Net accounts to share with other scholars."

Sounds promising! The full story is here.