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CommentPressing NMC Paper on Evolution of Communication

I’ve been eager to use CommentPress since I first heard about it. Developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book, CP is a cleverly designed template for WordPress geared for online publication of books and papers. Sections of your paper are posted as blog entries, but the big, big feature is that unlike a blog post where comments are associated with the entire written work (the “post”) CP provides a tools to attach comments to individual paragraphs.

Using WordPress for doing “more than cat diaries” has been one of my long standing mantras/tirades, and back when I was at Maricopa, I reconstituted our online publication into a Wp hosted version (sadly, it seems to be offline, sigh). A blog engine is ideal for doing publications.

At NMC we have been thinking about ways to build more context around our online conferences, so for next week’s Symposium on the Evolution of Communication, we published a short white paper designed to seed some ideas…

As part of a new approach to how we design our online conferences, this paper is being released in advance of the NMC Symposium on the Evolution of Communication to spark discussion, discourse, and especially critical thinking on the topic. This first topical paper is being released in a form that encourages discussion and that itself embodies the topic of the changing nature of communication.

So you have the web 0 to 1.0 version- a link to a PDF. While I was busy coughing my way across Australia, my colleagues published the paper on our web site, using drupal’s book content type to chunk it into sections, and allowing each section to get comments from readers.


And its been on my to-do list since returning to toy with creating it in CommentPress.

Yesterday, I sat down and had it done in less than an hour. Installation is a snap, if you have done WordPress before, though note you have to use nothing newer than WP 2.2 – cool, I did not know, but there is an archive of every version of WP. Edit an option or 2, set up permalinks (I used simple category/post-name), and you are ready to publish (hee hee I saw one example where the URL of the first chapter ends in “hello-world” someone needs to learn about post slugs). It took no time at all to create the 6 posts by copy/pasting the source from our other web version, and more the content needed for the About page

Additional tweaks including editing the blogroll category and items to create a list of links for the sidebar. I also turned on Askimet to see how it does to snag spam (that will come for sure).

This morning I got fancier, and added an embedded display of an RSS feed for the tag where we add resources, using my own Feed2Js code (the php flavor).


So there it is.. now I just need some folks to comment? Please? Head over to, and read the paper (it is really short), and slap some comments on paragraphs.

I think it is a slick, elegant, and powerful way to put papers online.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I forwarded the URL to my grad students, Alan, and I’m hoping you’ll get lots of new comments soon! This is a fascinating possibility for online publication of scholarly work…can you imagine an entire online journal in this format? Blows my mind.

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