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Published:
2016-11-17 12:50:17 -0500
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5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Rrain Prior, who volunteers as a staffer with our Journal Committee.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As the production editor for Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) I shepherd OTW's academic journal from accepted submissions to finished product, including organising copyediting, proofreading and layout, and troubleshooting anything that comes up along the way.

The journal is one of the main projects that the OTW undertakes, providing an established and respected venue for fan studies. It's also a pioneer in terms of online-only and open access academic journals, which I think really exemplifies the values and goals of OTW as a whole.

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I'm not sure there's any such thing as a typical week for me! The journal publishes two to three times a year, with each issue about a two-month process on the production end of things. During a production window, in any given week I might be:

  • collecting copyright releases from authors
  • running down source locations (online items are notoriously migratory)
  • entering proofreading corrections
  • confirming names and figures for articles
  • finding alternate sources for YouTube videos
  • tweaking layout code to make elements in articles appear properly
  • corresponding with copyediting, proofreading or layout volunteers to wrangle scheduling

All of this is done with the ultimate goal of making sure every issue of TWC is published on time. And so far, with 22 issues under our belts, we've been on time with every single one.

One thing is consistent, no matter what I might be tackling: there is always a lot of email! In between issues, my week might involve correcting links in previous articles, corresponding with authors about corrections, or diving into one of our ongoing projects such as ensuring that every image has correct alt text. Sometimes, once in a while, I might even have a week off.

Is there a favorite issue of Transformative Works and Cultures that you've worked on?

Favourites are so hard to choose, especially since I've worked on every issue! As a fannish butterfly, every issue has something that I've been really excited about. I think, though, that my favourite would have to be what was also the most technologically challenging issue: our "Fan/Remix Video" issue from 2012, guest edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo.

Nearly every article in the issue incorporated video clips in some way, which really highlighted the flexibility of an online-only journal. Working with videos is sometimes the hardest part of laying out an issue of TWC, but it was really worth it to make this happen.

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

The best thing is the people I work with, hands down. Karen and Kristina (editors of TWC) are amazing to work with and have taught me so much, and all of our volunteers are both incredibly hardworking and really a pleasure to work with. But I have to admit there are other perks to doing what I do, too. Getting to be the first person to read some of these articles? Yes, please! I'm also the kind of person who quite enjoys both wrangling the big picture and digging into the small details of things, which probably means I'm in exactly the right job.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I'm a fanfic writer from way back. Way, way back. Not quite to zine-only era, but definitely back to usenet era. That's always been my joy and my primary fannish activity, through several fandoms. I've also been an RPer (both pen-and-paper and later online) since I was a teenager. Comic-book fan, voracious reader, gamer, and all-around pan-media consumer and transformer. It would not be a stretch to say that most of my life is fannish in some way.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.