Westminster Students Bring an Analog Relic into the Digital Age

May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015 An academic journal is revived, reimagined and revamped SALT LAKE CITY - Rotary phones, floppy discs, 8-track tapes-once a piece of tech is sent to the graveyard it's difficult to resurrect. But The Myriad is one analog treasure a group of Westminster students found and raised from the dead. The Myriad, Westminster's academic journal, was printed on paper-archaic, right-and distributed around campus where it was overlooked for years. The last known publication dated back to 2008, and the journal was all but forgotten. Then, in the fall of 2014, a few students were searching for a way to showcase the interesting research being done at Westminster. They stumbled upon archives of The Myriad and began overhauling it to not only fit in today's digital world, but to also make it appealing to new audiences. The result is one of the first digital, interactive academic journals in the world that pushes the traditions of academia. 20150410_132807 crop The Myriad's clean design and layout combined with dynamic content makes it read more like a slick magazine than a stuffy academic journal. The design team utilized a digital publishing platform-used by the likes of Outdoor Magazine, New York Magazine and WebMD-allowing them to create a unique user experience that surpasses the traditional digital format. Headlines in the first issue include "Redefining the Traitor," "Bonneville Salt Flats," "Politicized Vaginas" and "The Pursuit of Growth and the Global Convergence of Crises." The journal does more than delve into a variety of topics like transportation equity, social ecology and global economics. Because The Myriad is interactive, the reader can get to know the student doing the research, see that student's passion and engage in their world. "The Myriad has existed in various forms in the past, but was presented in an inaccessible way," said Lexie Banks, a member of The Myriad advisory board. "In the past, the publication lacked continuity and an executable vision. With this iteration of The Myriad, we hope to create a sustainable process and create a vision for a new kind of academic journal that is both accessible and engaging." Sebastian Hooker (alumnus), Kailey Kornhauser (student) and Lexie Banks (graduate student) brought The Myriad back to life with a Quick Win grant awarded by Westminster to support its new strategic plan. The grant money allowed them to purchase software and hire a team of students to take charge of the redesign and publishing process. 20150410_131702 crop The journal not only provides an opportunity for the Westminster community to share its research, but also pushes the boundaries of what an academic journal can be. The cross-disciplinary, digital journal is one of the first of its kind and entirely unique to Westminster. The team is integrating responsive elements throughout the journal to highlight the researchers as well as their work. In addition to high-quality photos and interviews with the researchers, readers can watch video introductions of articles and click on popups displaying research data, and scroll through vibrant, fluid layers of research content. "The Myriad introduces a new layer of interactivity, leading to further engagement for readers," said Sebastian Hooker, a member of the publication's advisory board. "This allows students who are not familiar with research journals to find value in their university's research, creating a broader audience of readers. And it's fun." The Myriad is currently available in the App store for IOS devices. It will soon be available for Androids and online. 20150410_133140 How the Myriad Works The Myriad team is comprised of an advisory board and an editorial team, as well as a number of faculty reviewers in various disciplines. Students submitted their research online in the fall of 2014. The articles underwent an initial evaluation by faculty. Based on faculty recommendations, The Myriad team selected 12 of the 31 submissions to publish in the first issue of the redesigned The Myriad. Faculty reviewers and The Myriad team evaluated submissions based on their significance to the Westminster community, originality, organization, writing quality, research techniques and ability to generate relevant discussion. The next round of submissions will open in August 2015. Articles can be submitted at westminstercollege.edu/myriad.

Media Contacts

Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von

About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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