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  1. Alright, how about a Digital Anthropology Interest Group?
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Alright, how about a Digital Anthropology Interest Group?

Following on the heels of Bill Davis’ letter to the White House that has been hashed out here and elsewhere it became apparent that many of us are concerned about the future of Open Access principles within the AAA. The suggestion that we organize an OA interest group has been amended to include working towards a broader, “digital anthropology” interest group. There are a number of advantages to adopting the “digital” moniker. While OA can still be one of the core issues of the group, it may be politically tactful not to include that in the name of our organization. By making the organization more inclusive we can get more people involved and, if need be, shift focus as issues related to OA develop and the group itself becomes more mature.

In this post I’d like to consider what else such a digital anthropology interest group could do. I compiled a list of different ideas readers brought up in the last column about an OA interest group. Let’s work together to add to the list! Being that we’re in the most incipient planning stages I suggest we brainstorm freely – make wishes even – and worry about sorting it all out later.

Once we’ve inventoried peoples’ ideas about the interest group we can draft a mission statement and share it here and on other blogs too in order to get the best feedback. So without further ado, here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

The purpose of a Digital Anthropology interest group

  • Officially we are for “networking and/or the informal exchange of information.” So far, four important trends have developed:
  • (a) Be a common meeting place for anthros to brainstorm about new platforms.
  • (b) Compile and communicate important information relevant to our purpose
  • (c) Be savvy about our place within the AAA
  • (d) Build coalitions with other groups outside the AAA


(a) A common meeting place

  • Organize events at the annual meeting of the AAA like roundtables, panels, and receptions
  • Make any AAA event we’re in accessible to others via teh interwebs


(b) Compile and communicate important information

  • Have an active online presence through multiple formats
  • Create a one stop shop for OA issues: inventory OA publications, announce calls for papers or reviewers, publicize OA events, write strong statements on why and how we should support OA
  • Make use of server space from AAA &/or utilize Kerim’s old Open Access Anthropology blog


(c)Be savvy about our place within the AAA

  • Highlight anthropology blogs so that more members are aware that anthropology is happening online
  • Raise awareness of digital anthropology issues within the AAA so that more members know why OA matters
  • Make recommendations to the AAA Executive Board regarding OA, such as having an “official” OA venue alongside the AAA’s conventional publications
  • Learn the history of the old “Scholarly Communications” interest group, especially why they disbanded
  • Be proactive about talking to subject area librarians for anthropology and the folks involved in planning AnthroSource
  • Don’t break the AAA’s precious rules and try to change the system from the inside


(d)Build alliances with groups outside the AAA

  • Here the idea is to maintain open lines of communication with like minded folks and not form another alternative organization. This group, by definition, is a part of the AAA
  • Comrades in arms to include: Open Anthropology Cooperative; World Council of Anthro Assoc; specific anthropology departments (but who?)


Okay everybody, what else you got?


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