Tom, for the basics of what Webmention is you might try this intro article Webmentions: Enabling Better Communication on the Internet.
To get started quickly, just to have the notifications, you might try creating an account with Webmentions.io and put the endpoint into the
<head> of your site so you can receive them in the erstwhile on a separate service and worry about direct integration at a later date. As I recall Aaron Gustafson has a Webmention.io Jekyll Plugin for display and some of the outline is covered in this recent article by Max Böck.
If necessary, you can get help in the #Dev channel of the IndieWeb chat.
I think Pelle Wessman has a Micropub solution for Jekyll which might allow you to use gRegorLove’s indiebookclub as a start. Asking in chat may help get you moving on other ideas/help if you need them.
How to pull interactions from social media platforms like Twitter back to your own site, using Webmentions, webmention.io and Bridgy.
Clear and lucid tutorial for adding Webmention to one’s Eleventy-based static site.
More academics should definitely try this out! For those who might need help or support, check in with the #IndieWeb community via chat or find resources at https://indieweb.org/Indieweb_for_Education
#academicsamizdat #edtech #phdlife #phdchat #DoOO