The Writing Studies Tree
Ben Miller, Amanda Licastro, and Jill Belli, English
The Writing Studies Tree (WST) is an online, open-access, crowdsourced database of scholarly relationships within writing studies, composition/rhetoric and related academic fields. Created by Graduate Center students in 2011-2012, the WST combines a fixed data structure with open editing privileges to rapidly aggregate the work of thousands of individuals’ small data entry efforts into scalable network visualizations. Previous academic genealogies have been limited in scalability, access to data entry, or access to data readout; the WST takes a more Web 2.0 approach, involving as many participants as possible, and trusting the community of users to self-regulate. The project thus encourages users to see themselves not only as part of an evolving network of scholars, but also as contributors to the collective knowledge-making project of the field.