Creating an Online Home

At times, the work in the marketing department of the journals division can seem a little disconnected.

You see, we have more than 80 journals spread around the world. We don’t actually produce the journals. We provide the support that (hopefully) helps the journals gain a larger subscription base and greater standing in the academic community. But we’re not on the ground floor with our editors as they create each issue.

That’s why I can’t wait to give a presentation this week at the American Association of University Presses conference on our efforts to create a digital presence for our journals.

The actual journal content for these publications exists on Project MUSE, so we have the task of creating a virtual space to shed light on what makes some of our journals or association partners so special.

The task has many more pitfalls than you might imagine. Each new website we create for a journal – or existing one we re-design – has a different reason for existing.

Maybe the editor wants a space to better explain the aims of a new journal. Maybe the journal has undergone massive change, including a new name and new editors, in recent years. Maybe the editor wants a place to help fill the gaps between issue of the journal.

All of these reasons have brought the marketing team together with an editor and the web team based in Project MUSE to give a journal a new online home. We have also created an entirely new association site (which won an award) and helped celebrate anniversaries.

Some might wonder why this matters. If the website doesn’t have journal content, what’s the point?

That’s what I hope to share with colleagues at AAUP. A journal encompasses so much more than what ends up on the printed page. A website can introduce new scholars to the publication, turning them into a subscriber. A website can showcase the ideals of the editors, prompting someone to submit an article. A website can answer basic questions in a uniquely designed space that makes a visitor feel like the editors do more than simply edit and publish essays.

The process of creating these online homes helps bridge the gap that exists in our daily work. I like knowing that we help our partners put on their best face for the rest of the world even if we’re hiding behind the scenes.