As the calendar year comes to a close, I want to take a moment to reflect what H-Net has accomplished this past year. During this past year, H-Net continued to be a force for academic freedom, inquiry, and communication. This includes:
- Creating an online Teaching Conference which had more than 300 attendees;
- Creating the peer-reviewed Cultural Encounters of the Civil War Era;
- Reinvigorated more than half a dozen networks; and
- Created a Mastodon server, h-net.social, to give our subscribers an exit strategy from Twitter.
And we did all of this while devoting much time to improving the website and user experience. The H-Net Home Office spent almost the entire year redesigning and re-thinking the H-Net online experience. Our current website is nearly a decade old – which means it’s past time to improve it! But replacing a website without advertisement or membership fees is hard to do. But we did it. And our new website will be so much better! It will be easier to use, more mobile friendly, more secure, and will look more appealing. It will be a more enjoyable and safer experience than ever before. And we will maintain our high level of content moderation.
The new H-Net website will debut early next year – get excited! But of course, we have other websites we need to improve. Our Job Guide, which is still the premiere academic job posting web service that is also free to all job seekers, is based on nearly 10-year-old web design. In addition, H-Net publishes nearly a thousand academic book reviews annually, which means we are the largest academic book reviewer in the world. But our Review Management System is also about 10 years old and needs to be replaced with a more modern, safer, and easier-to-use system.
To do all this work takes money. It costs money to hire outside web developers. It costs money to hire Associate Directors who help organize our conference and journals. It costs money to hire communication specialists to help with network training and coordinating with the home office.
H-Net doesn’t charge for our services. It is an academic good which is committed to remaining free and open to the world. But to grow, we need money.
I know every organization in the world is asking you for money you don’t have. I am sympathetic to that. I do hope you are able to contribute to many of those wonderful organization. But I also want you to think about H-Net as well. We are looking to raise at least $35,000 to help us offset the costs of replacing our websites.
To help meet this modest goal, I have contributed to H-Net. I’ve asked H-Net’s Council to contribute. And now I am asking you to contribute. Twice a year H-Net runs a fundraising campaign. We understand that no one likes to receive fundraising emails, but these are funds we need. Although most who work for H-Net are volunteers, we do have professional staff and they need salaries. We have servers, and they need maintenance. We have overhead costs that need to be paid for us to exist.
I am asking you to please take a moment to contribute. Even a few dollars at the end of the year will help us reach our goal of $35,000.
Whether you are just subscribed to our emails, whether you volunteer as an editor, whether you are contributor – I want to thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate all you do for H-Net. You help make us a great academic institution.
To donate by credit card online, please follow this link to the Support H-Net page: https://networks.h-net.org/support-h-net
Or send a check payable to H-Net:
H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online
Old Horticulture, Room 141H
506 East Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
H-Net President (2022); Network and Review Editor, H-Diplo