Unfortunately I can't attend the Inkshed conference this year, but I
wanted to report on the new Inkshed website at www.inkshed.ca/blog, and
especially to encourage contributions to it. I am sending this message
to the CASLL-L listserv to reach the whole range of Inkshedders, and am
also hoping it raises some discussion at the conference.
FUNCTIONS OF THE SITE
Tania Smith's design adapted WordPress blog software to let the new site
serve both as a place to post notes and announcements (the "blogging"
capacity), and also as a way to continue the tradition of newsletter
publication established in 1984. In the 18 months since December 2011,
the site has mounted several dozen informational posts, set out
information about two Inkshed conferences, and published four newsletter
"issues" with a mix of poems, reviews, and articles.
The site has received over 7,000 views, with most going to the
The one technical problem was a surge of new memberships last month
(over 200 in one week) from people wanting to post ads for running
shoes, wedding dresses, baby equipment, and something indecipherable in
Poland. I have now had to change the registration setting to ask that
would-be contributors contact me directly at [log in to unmask]
In spite of this technical barrier, I am happy to process registration
requests and to facilitate posting of notes or articles.
LIMITATIONS OF THE SITE
As also noted recently by the moderator of the CASDW site, the Inkshed
site has not generated online discussion (only six "reply" comments in
total, for instance, for the 50-plus pages). Most of the posts are from
the same few people, and most duplicate information also sent to the
listserv. Presumably, however, the site offers the advantage of a
permanent URL for each page, even for short notes. This "blogging"
capacity could be used much more widely than it is now.
It is more of a concern that after four newsletter collections, offers
of articles and reviews have tapered off. It is also noticeable that the
newsletter pages get fewer views than the informational pages. These
trends may show that an informal newsletter is no longer needed to hold
together a nascent community, as it did for Inkshedders during the 1980s
and 1990s. Or they may suggest that CASLL members now prefer to publish
serious articles in peer-reviewed journals.
As moderator of the site, I would be happy to receive articles of any
kind for the newsletter and to answer inquiries -- including requests
for peer review of article submissions if desired. On the other hand, if
the newsletter is no longer important for CASLL/Inkshed, I am quite
willing to let it lie dormant or revive itself only as needed. In any
case, the blogging capacity of the software will allow for continued
posting of informal notes and announcements by anyone registered on the
site. The future of the site will be decided by its users.
With best wishes to all in BC, and regrets not to be with you this year,
Moderator, Inkshed website (www.inkshed.ca/blog)
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