DHQ in the Public Eye

Melissa Terras writes in the introduction to Digital Humanities Quarterly v1 n2 (2007):

We at DHQ hope that we will eventually reach a wider audience (and trust our readers will help us do so), introducing the type and range of activities the digital humanities community is interested in, and featuring energetic, novel, and interesting articles on a variety of research, making use of all the Internet technologies at our disposal.

One of the papers in this, our second issue, has already done just that. Dennis G. Jerz’s Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original Adventure in Code and in Kentucky, was posted on the test site for proofreading a few weeks before launch, when one of our editors featured an advance mention of it on his blog. A few days later, it was picked up by the gaming community on a popular discussion list (rec.arts.int-fiction), garnering comments such as “HOLY MOLY!” and “It is clear on a single reading that this is the most important single paper ever written on the history of interactive fiction” before it had even been formally published. It doesn’t stop there: the paper went on to be featured on Boing Boing (a “directory of wonderful things” which is read by hundreds of thousands of readers), then being mentioned on Slashdot, the popular technology-related news site. (We are pleased to report our servers survived being “slashdotted” so far, which is perhaps the best load test we could wish for). Shortly after, it featured on Metafilter, a community weblog that anyone can edit with a vast readership, where comments included “What academic research should aspire to be” and “I can feel a new LOLCATS meme coming on. (I can haz mint-cake?).” On the eve of publication, we have had a request from a local Kentucky newspaper wishing to republish the paper (which our publication terms willingly permit). This paper has legs.

In addition, publication on DHQ has made the original game available again for a new audience. When the preprint version of this article became available on the internet in August 2007, Matthew Russoto modified Crowther’s source code so that it will compile for today’s computers. David Kinder made a Windows executable version. The colossal cave lives again.