[Cross-posted from http://www.mith.umd.edu/dhwi/]
The Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC) project and the Digital Humanities Winter Institute (DHWI) are delighted to announce the 8th course for the upcoming 2013 institute. Digital Editions, led by EMiC director Dean Irvine, is designed for individuals and groups who are interested in creating scholarly digital editions. Topics covered will include an overview of planning and project management, workflow and labour issues, and tools available for edition production. Participants will be working with the Modernist Commons, a collaborative digital editing environment and repository designed by EMiC in collaboration with Islandora and its software-services company DiscoveryGarden.This course was made possible through the generous sponsorship of EMiC. We invite you to visit DHWI and EMiC to learn more about this training opportunity and this exciting international project.
EMiC participants (faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate fellows) and other students affiliated with EMiC co-applicants and collaborators may apply to attend DHWI online at http://editingmodernism.ca/training/summer-institutes/demic/.
Read the new DEMiC, DEMiC Travel, and DEMiC Accommodations pages and Application Form carefully. There are new deadlines and new mechanisms of oversight for booking travel and accommodations for both DHSI at Victoria and DHWI at Maryland.
Looks like we’re going to have to update that summery URL. Welcome to winter training. Now there’s no off season for DH enthusiasts.
MITH will host the first annual Digital Humanities Winter Institute (DHWI), from Monday, January 7, 2013, to Friday, January 11, 2013, at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. We’re delighted to be expanding the model pioneered by the highly-successful Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria to the United States.
DHWI will provide an opportunity for scholars to learn new skills relevant to different kinds of digital scholarship while mingling with like-minded colleagues in coursework, social events, and lectures during an intensive, week-long event located amid the many attractions of the Washington, D.C. region.
Courses are open to all skill levels and will cater to many different interests. For the 2013 Institute we’ve assembled an amazing group of instructors who will teach everything from introductory courses on project development and programming, to intermediate level courses on image analysis, teaching with multimedia, and data curation. DHWI will also feature more technically-advanced courses on text analysis and linked open data. We hope that the curricula we’ve assembled will appeal to graduate students, faculty, librarians, and museum professionals as well as participants from government and non-governmental organizations.
An exciting program of extracurricular events will accompany the formal DHWI courses to capitalize on the Institute’s proximity to the many cultural heritage organizations in the region. This stream of activities, which we’re calling “DHWI Public Digital Humanities,” will include an API workshop, a hack-a-thon, and opportunities to contribute videos and other materials to the 4Humanities campaign to document the importance of the humanities for contemporary society.
Both the outward-looking DHWI Public Digital Humanities program and the week of high-caliber, in-depth digital humanities coursework will be kicked off by the Institute Lecture. This year’s speaker will be Seb Chan, currently the Director of Digital & Emerging Media at the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City.
We hope that many of you will join us this winter in Maryland for what promises to be a terrific event. Registration is now available at this site.
Like DHSI, we will be offering a limited number of sponsored student scholarships to help cover the cost of attending the Institute. The scholarships are made possible through the generosity of this year’s DHWI Instructors and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
What I enjoy most about working as a research assistant for EMiC is how varied my responsibilities are. Last semester, my tasks including researching and writing biographies for people mentioned within Le Nigog, and running our scanned images through OCR software. This semester, my main task has been obtaining permissions for the works we plan to publish in our digital archive, that is, tracking down the copyright information of French-Canadian artists and intellectuals who died almost–but not quite–fifty years ago.
When I was first assigned this task, I wasn’t even sure how to begin. Matt Huculak linked me to Copyright databases, as did the Dalhousie Copyright Officer (he was very helpful in providing resources and answering my questions, no matter how vague, and he still sends emails checking up on me and my project):
Copyright Renewal Database
Copyright Clearance Centre
Unfortunately, these databases did not contain much information on my obscure French-Canadian authors. At Huculak’s suggestion, I turned towards archives and libraries for more guidance.
I was a little wary about initiating this kind of contact, particularly as much of the correspondence would be conducted in French. So before I began I wrote up templates: clear, concise messages that could easily be modified depending on the individual. I wrote one in French and one in English and had them proofread by someone outside the project to ensure they made sense–I didn’t want my requests ignored or misunderstood. Note: Huculak insisted that I use email as much as possible and keep all the messages on file, so that we had evidence of our search and its results.
Thankfully, my predecessor had already tracked down fonds and collections of these authors and left me links to finding aids. I chose to contact the archivists to see if they had any contact information related to the fonds. Contacting the archivist themselves proved to be more difficult than I anticipated, lost as they were among the myriad of information on the archive and collection websites. I tried to locate the emails of specific archivists and librarians, but often the closest I could get was a vague info@ email or, worst case, submitting an information request into the abyss of the Collections Canada and Archives France websites. Once my requests were sent, I imagine they were referred from person to person until they reached the right one. Now that I have successfully corresponded with many of these archives, I have the coveted emails on file and I can post them for the use of others.
Finally, I waited. Some archivists replied at lightning speed, some took over a month. Some gave replies that had absolutely nothing to do with my request, and some gave me exactly what I needed (contact information of rightholders, heirs, or estates).
When the responses stopped coming in, I contacted Bibliothèque et Archives Nationals du Québec, explained my situation, and asked if they had any resources they could share with me. They linked me to Copibec, a Quebecois copyright database. Like the Copyright Clearance Centre, these folks charge a fee in exchange for obtaining permissions, but they also help users research rightholders. ( a full list of copyright societies like this one can be found here) I contacted them with the names of the missing authors. They were able to confirm that three of the others were nowhere to be found–Copibec had researched them and come up empty handed. This was very valuable information, as the Copyright Board of Canada gives permissions in the case of unlocatable copyright owners. This is where my carefully archived emails will come in handy, as we need to prove that we have made an adequate attempt to find the rightholders.
After two months I have whittled down my list significantly. I hope this post can help others have the same success.
Mount Allison University, Sackville NB, 20–23 September 2012
Poetic discourse in Canada has always been changing to assert poetry’s relevance to the public sphere. While some poets and critics have sought to shift poetic subjects in Canada to make political incursions into public discourses, others have sought changes in poetic form as a means to encourage wider public engagement. If earlier conversations about poetics in Canadian letters, such as those in the well-known Toronto Globe column “At the Mermaid Inn” (1892-93), sought to identify an emerging cultural nationalism in their references to Canadian writing, in the twentieth century poetics became increasingly focused on a wider public, with little magazines, radio, and television offering new spaces in which to consider Canadian cultural production. In more recent decades, many diverse conversations about poetics in Canada have begun to emanate from hyperspace, where reviews, interviews, Youtube/Vimeo clips, publisher/author websites, and blogs have increased the “visibility” of poetry and poetics.
Acknowledging the work that emerged from the 2005 “Poetics & Public Culture in Canada Conference,” as well as recent publications considering publics in the Canadian context, we are interested in examining a growing set of questions surrounding these and other discursive shifts connected with Canadian poetry and poetics. How have technological innovations such as radio, television, and the Internet, for example, made poetry and poetics more accessible or democratic? How does poetry inhabit other genres and media in order to gesture toward conversations relevant to political, cultural, and historical moments? What contemporary concerns energize those studying historical poetries and poetics? How do commentators in public and academic circles construct a space for poetry to inhabit?
The conference sets out to explore the changing shapes of and responses to poetic genres, aesthetic theories, and political visions from a diverse range of cultural and historical contexts. In the interest of reinvigorating conversations about the multiple configurations of poetics, poetry, and the public in Canada, we invite proposals for papers (15–20 minutes) on subjects including, but not limited to:
–Public statements/declarations of poetics
–Publics and counterpublics in Canadian poetry
–The politics of public poetics
–Tensions between avant- and rear-garde poetics in Canada
–Shifting technological modes of poetic and critical production (print/sound/video/born-digital)
–Poetics of/as Activism
–Public Intellectualism and Poetics
–Recovery and remediation of Canadian poetry and poetics
–Poetics and collaboration in Canada
–People’s poetry and /or the People’s Poetry Awards
–Poetry and environmental publics in Canada
Proposals should be no more than 250 words and should be accompanied by a 100-word abstract and a 50-word biographical note. Please send proposals to email@example.com by 29 February 2012. For more information visit www.publicpoetics.ca.
In conjunction with the conference, a one-day workshop will be hosted by The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory / Le Collaboratoire scientifique des écrits du Canada. This purpose of this workshop (CWRCshop) is to introduce, in accessible and inviting ways, digital tools to humanities scholars and to encourage digital humanists, via a turn to close reading, to connect with the raw material, which is the basis of digitization efforts.
The PUBLIC POETICS conference is organized by Bart Vautour (Mt. A), Erin Wunker (Dal), Travis V. Mason (Dal), and Christl Verduyn (Mt. A). The conference is sponsored by the Centre for Canadian Studies at Mount Allison University, the Canadian Studies Programme at Dalhousie University, and The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory / Le Collaboratoire scientifique des écrits du Canada. We plan to publish a selection of revised/expanded papers as a special journal issue and/or a book with a university press.
I have been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Editing Modernism in Canada for just over a year now, so it gives me great pleasure at this midpoint in my position to announce two major partnership agreements signed last week. First, EMiC has finalized it contract with Islandora at the University of Prince Edward Island to build our very own Digital Humanities module. Second, EMiC has partnered with another DH project with which I am involved: The Modernist Versions Project. Both partnerships promise to provide resources, training, and infrastructure not only EMiC scholars, but to the DH community as a whole.
1. Integrated Digital Humanities Environments: Islandora
Anyone who has been in DH for a while knows that there is a long history of tool-creation for our scholarly endeavours. Some of these projects have been successful (The Versioning Machine, Omeka, etc.), and some, unfortunately, have not. One “problem” we face as DH’ers is that there is simply so much to do. Some of us are interested in visualization software and network relations (Proust Archive), some are interested in preserving disintegrating archives (Modernist Journals Project), and others of us are firmly rooted in TEI and textual markup. Moreover, with the growth of GIS software, mapping texts has become a great way to have students interact with texts in spatial terms and to communicate with a non-academic public using a language most of us are familiar with: maps.
But what happens in DH when we move into the classroom?
I recently read a stunning syllabus created by Brian Croxall at Emory University, in which he provides his students with a solid (and diverse) introduction to the Digital Humanities. But one thing researchers and teachers like Brian, or any other DH’er faces, is providing students integrated learning environments where they can edit texts in a common repository AND have all the tools they need at their disposal in the browser. If you want to teach TEI right now, you have to buy Oxygen (a life-saving program when it comes to XML markup); For versioning, you must install Juxta or The Versioning Machine. For publication/exhibition you must install Omeka. But what if we had ALL of those things in one learning environment, in one common and open system? This is what we’re trying to accomplish with the EMiC Digital Humanities Sprout.
EMiC Digital Humanities Sprout
An issue EMiC faces in providing tools for our researchers is the sheer diversity of work being undertaken right now by EMiC scholars who have varying levels of experience with digital environments. EMiC needed to find a way to allow its members to preserve, edit, and publish digital editions of archival material in an intuitive way; moreover, we wanted to make to sure our archival practices conformed to international standards. Moreover, most of us are teachers too. How do we teach our students what we are doing in our research? Enter Islandora.
Nine months ago, I Googled the phrase “TEI, ABBYY, XSLT” on a whim (actually, I was being lazy: I was looking for an XSLT sheet that would transform ABBYY HTML to simple TEI). The first result listed was a page from the University of Prince Edward Island—just down the road so-to-speak. Not knowing much about Prince Edward Island outside of L. M. Montgomery, I keep browsing, and to my amazement, found that the library at UPEI had created a project called “Island Lives,” a resource developed using the home-grown Islandora digital repository. Mark Leggott, Donald Moses, and others, had built precisely what I was looking for: a digital asset management system using a Fedora Commons repository wrapped in Drupal shell. Islandora allows users to easily upload an image of text to its database, edit that image (TEI), and then “publish” a complete text (book, pamphlet, etc.) to the web. Dean Irvine and I realized that if we could expand this system to fit EMiC’s needs, we could create a Digital Humanities module that would serve our members perfectly. We decided to focus on the core issues facing EMiC editors: Ingestion (including OCR based on Tesseract), Image Markup, TEI editing, Versioning, and Publication (for the full list of what we’re building, see below*). Moreover, Islandora is tested and true and is being used by NASA, the Smithsonian, among many other institutions.
Thank You, DH.
We have years of successful work to emulate for this DH module. And just as the DH community has given to us, we expect the give back to the DH community by keeping the DH module open to use. Yes, we plan on creating an EMiC/Islandora DH install that you can download and use in your classrooms.
As part of this initiative, I have moved to Prince Edward Island to work with the Islandora crew as we develop this module. There’s some other news about what I’ll be digitizing there to “test” our system—but you’ll have to wait to hear about that. In the meantime, we are planning unveiling our functioning module at DHSI2012.
2. Modernist Versions Project
If you haven’t been to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute hosted by Ray Seimens at the University of Victoria, do plan on going! It is an incredible week of DH training, and it is one of the most memorable “unconferences” I have ever attended. One wonderful result of this year’s camp was the creation of the Modernist Versions Project (MVP), an international initiative to provide online resources for the editing and display of multiple witnesses of modernist texts. In what was truly a conversation over coffee, Stephen Ross shared with me his desire to create the MVP. Having served the Modernist Journals Project (MJP) at the University of Tulsa and Brown University for over six years, I said, “Stephen, let’s do this!” And we did. With the help of James Gifford, Jentery Sayers, and Tanya Clement (who along with Stephen and I serve as the Board of the MVP), we have secured tremendous support for a major SSHRC application this fall. The MVP promises to be an important project in the field of Digital Humanities and modernism.
But what does this have to do with EMiC?
I am impressed by two aspects of EMiC. First, the recovery of modernist Canadian texts in our project is truly spectacular. Second, the training EMiC facilitates at the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, The University of Victoria, and Trent University (among many other institutions) is edifying. Just look at our graduate student editors who are engaged in serious textual editing projects across Canada: http://editingmodernism.ca/about-us/. We are really building the future of Canadian studies here.
As an international scholar, I am concerned, like many of you, with the networking of Canadian modernism across the globe. How does Canadian modernism fit into the greater narrative of modernity across the world? (this is a topic we’ll be exploring in Paris 2012: http://editingmodernism.ca/events/sorbonne-nouvelle/).
The Modernist Versions Project is one way of creating networks of modernist textual criticism and production across the world; that is, the MVP is interested in the editing and visualization of multiple textual witnesses no matter where those witnesses were created. Though located in Canada, the MVP’s scope is much larger, and EMiC’s partnership with the MVP will allow EMiC scholars interested in “versioning” to use MVP resources as they are developed. The MVP has already developed partnerships with the Modernism Lab at Yale University, Modernist Networks at Chicago, and NINES, which is letting us use and develop their Juxta software for periodicals and books.
Dean Irvine has been very generous in allocating my Postdoctoral hours towards the formation of the MVP. Once again, EMiC is nurturing young projects and helping create a truly global network of digital modernist studies. And I think I’ll end on this note: EMiC’s primary focus has been collaboration: collaboration among peers, and now collaboration among projects. And by collaborating with other projects around the world, we hope to create tools that will last, be useful, and really change the face of modernist studies.
Welcome to EMiC. Let’s go build something.
*Details of the EMiC Digital Humanities Sprout
Existing Islandora Code
1. Islandora Core
a. Integration with the Fedora repository and Drupal CMS
b. Islandora Book Workflow
c. Islandora Audio/Video
d. Islandora Scholarly Citations
New/Enhanced Functionality for the EMiC Module
1. Smart Ingest
2. Image Markup Tool
Proofs of concept and models:
Image Markup Tool (IMT)
3. TEI Editor
Proofs of concept and models:
Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) – CWRC Writer
Humanities Research Infrastructure and Tools (HRIT) – Editor
4. Collation Tool
Proofs of concept and models for development:
5. Version Visualization Tool
Proofs of concept and models:
6. Dynamic Version Viewer
Hypercities database: Transparent layers interface
7. Digital Collection Visualization Tool
Proof of concept:
I received a travel subvention to attend the first week of TEMiC on editorial theory, taught by Professor Zailig Pollock during the first week of August 2011 at Trent University. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about editing from an instructor and editor with so much experience, alongside a group of graduate students who are doing such interesting work, and with input from other Canadian editors and scholars working with EMiC.
The readings and our discussions were very relevant to the work that i have been doing for the past year with Neil Besner on the Laurier Poetry Series. I regret that i could not have taken the course at the beginning of my year of RA funding through EMiC (i think EMiC has adjusted the TEMiC schedule to correct this problem). I was especially interested to read Dean Irvine’s essay on editing F.R. Scott; the F.R. Scott volume for the Laurier Poetry Series, edited by Laura Moss, is forthcoming.
It was great to hear from Melissa Dalgleish about her experiences working on the digital edition of Anne Wilkinson’s poems, and from Catherine Hobbs on archives and archival studies. All of the presenters were really fantastic!
This was my first time meeting other people working on EMiC projects. Getting to know EMiC-affiliated grad students from other Canadian universities was one of the best parts of participating in TEMiC. I have recently completed my work on the Laurier Poetry Series and i will graduate with my MA this fall. After TEMiC, i am looking for ways to stay connected with EMiC and i hope to work on an EMiC project again.
I will report back to Neil Besner on my experience at TEMiC, with a recommendation that Laurier Poetry Series editors and future RAs might benefit from attending TEMiC.
Thanks to Zailig and Chris Doody for your warm welcome and hospitality!
Having been an English student for more years that I want to count (but if we’re keeping track, nine—yipes!—years at the university level), it’s sometimes easy to feel like I’ve got the basics of being an academic figured out. Much of the time, the learning I do is building on things I already know or refining techniques that I’ve long been practicing. My thinking often shifts and slides, or becomes more nuanced, but I think it would take a lot to completely transform the way I understand, say, Canadian modernism.
As a DH student, though, those statements absolutely do not apply. Every time I walk into a DH classroom—at DEMiC or at TEMiC, or even just in conversation with other DHers—it’s all I can do to keep up with the ways in which my thinking and practice are continually transforming themselves. The Wilkinson project is a case in point. I started out thinking that I’d be able to do a digital collection of all of her poems—after all, there are only about 150. Then I recognized that facsimiles on their own were inadequate, so the project grew exponentially when I took into account all of the versions—up to 30, for one poem—that I would have to scan, code, and narrativize to create a useful genetic edition. That project was clearly too big to even mentally conceive of right now, so I broke it down into smaller chunks: the 1951 edition first, then the 1955, then the 1968, and so on. Then I broke those chunks down into smaller parts, all the while keeping in view everything I was learning from the EMiC community about DH best practice as I made more and more specific choices about the edition.
As my three weeks in DH studies this summer have made very apparent to me, modularity is now the name of the game (and all credit for this recognition on my part goes to Meagan, Matt, Zailig, and Dean). The idea of modularity is important for my editorial practice, my future as an academic, and my mental health. I always have my ultimate goal—The Collected Works of Anne Wilkinson—in view, but what I used to think of as a small-ish project I now realize will probably take me a decade to completely finish. A more manageable chunk to start with is one module (of probably 10): a digital genetic/social-text edition of Counterpoint to Sleep, Wilkinson’s first collection. Even the first edition, which I’m aiming to have ready for final publication by the time I finish my PhD this time in 2013, can be broken down into smaller modules. First will come the unedited facsimiles. Then, the transcriptions. Then, the marked up facsimiles with their revision narratives and explanatory notes. Each of these modules can be published as soon as they are complete; they don’t represent my final goal for the edition, but they will certainly be useful to readers as I work on the next layer of information.
Modularity makes a lot of sense to me. Counterpoint can be published in the EMiC Commons and go on my CV before I go on the job market, which should help make possible my having the chance to keep working on the Wilkinson project as an academic. By breaking it down, I don’t have to try to mentally wrangle a huge and complex project. And if I hate how Counterpoint turns out, if someone has a really great criticism that I want to act on, if DH best practice changes significantly, or if the EMiC publication engine means that I can do things quite differently, I can completely re-theorize the next edition, The Hangman Ties the Holly, and do quite different things with it. This is especially important when it comes to peer review. If a modernist peer-review body gets created for our digital projects, I want to be able to design my editions so that they will be successfully peer reviewed, and I likely won’t know what those criteria are until after the first edition is done.
The idea of modularity also works quite well for edition and collection design. You’ll note that I’ve given up debating what to call the Wilkinson project, at least for the moment. The individual modules will be called editions, and the modules together will be called collections. I might change my mind later, but rest assured, this will never be called the Anne Wilkinson Arsenal (no offence to Price). I’ve mocked up the splash page for what the Wilkinson collection will look like when the five poetry editions are done.
As you can see, it’s really just a bunch of boxes. And I can have as many, or as few, boxes as I currently have work complete. Those boxes can also become other things as the project gets bigger. In the end, they might say something like Poetry/ Prose/ Life-Writing/ Juvenilia/ Correspondence. They’re endlessly alterable and rearrange-able, which seems to be the core of my new editorial philosophy.
If I can sum up the sea-change that has happened in my thinking about digital editing this year, it’s a shift from thinking big and in terms of product to thinking small and in terms of process. If I didn’t learn anything else, that would be a huge lesson to have grasped. I did learn lots else—the importance of user testing and project design, how committed I am to foregrounding the social nature of texts, how much I love interface design, how much I believe that responsible editing means foregrounding my role as editor and the ways I intervene in Wilkinson’s texts—and I’m looking forward to learning lots more in my hopefully long career as a digital humanist. It’s been a big summer for Melissa as DHer.
There’s a lot I can’t do with the Wilkinson project while Dean, Matt, the PEI Islandora team, and all sorts of other EMiC people work together to get the EMiC Co-op and Commons up and running. It’s just not quite ready for me yet. But there’s a lot I can do: secure permissions for all of the versions of poems that aren’t in the Wilkinson fonds and scan them, create a more refined system to organize all of my files, start writing my editorial preface (very roughly, and mostly so that I don’t forget what I think is most important for readers to know about the edition and my editorial practice), and start narrativizing the revision process of the Wilkinson poems that undergo significant alteration. And (you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say), I’ll try to make sure that however Islandora turns out, the work I do can be altered and shifted to work with it. It’s going to be a fun fall.
This morning’s work can easily be summarized with one word: energy. Our session began with Melissa Dalgleish’s discussion of her current work involving the digitization of the collections of Anne Wilkinson. As part of her discussion, Melissa gave a demonstration of an alpha version of her digital interface. I was not alone in being impressed with the elegant, clean, and extensible qualities of the few pages she demonstrated. She also addressed some of the challenges she faces, such as how she intends to label her project (since “archive” and “edition” seem to be misnomers, and “collection” and “collected” both seem insufficient), how she plans to prioritize and organize her data (at which point Melissa re-iterated her principle of modularity; that is, to work with smaller projects that can be incorporated into a larger architecture), and what to do with the vast raw material she has at her disposal.
From Melissa’s engaging talk, our group quickly branched out into a larger discussion of the issues and complexities surrounding digital humanities. Matt Huculak, Dean Irvine, and Zailig Pollock all contributed their vast expertise to the conversation. Zailig highlighted the opportunities stemming from digital representation of original manuscripts, and specifically offered kind words for Melissa’s project and her rationale. Matt stressed the importance of working with reproductions of your original files, while Dean encouraged us to re-consider how we manage our workflow, asking us to take a scientific approach and to offload raw data onto databases, rather than rely on our own machines for data storage. Extending this line of thinking, Dean talked about SourceForge and GitHub, two portals for dissemination of and collaboration with beta versions of software. He reminded us of the importance of sharing our groundwork, so that future scholars needn’t re-invent the wheel every time we begin a new markup project. He pointed to a number of resources, including Juxta, the Versioning Machine, and a proof-of-concept transparency viewer at MITH.
We also talked about the culture surrounding academic work and the spirit of collaboration that typifies the EMiC experience. During the conversation, we all agreed that there is very much a feeling of ‘stumbling around in the dark’ in regards to digital humanities scholarship, which could be remedied (or at least addressed) by further collaboration. However, we also acknowledged that many scholars involved in EMiC already have ample demands upon their time and resources. We brainstormed the possibility of some form of EMiC mentorship program, wherein an experienced scholar or researcher could be asked to mentor a new member of the EMiC community. In this scenario, new members would not only learn the skills already acquired by more senior EMiC community members, but also benefit from the comfort of knowing that it is alright (and normal!) not to start from a position of expertise; indeed, that EMiC’s membership comprises all sorts of skill levels and competencies.
Our afternoon was a lot more free-wheeling. The session opened with a discussion of the idea of co-authorship, and Deans’ sketches for a plan for establishing standards, again drawing upon the scientific model for inspiration. Zailig then talked specifically about his experiences on his various editorial projects, and how he operated as a member of an editorial board, and his views on the role of junior scholars on these boards. He then discussed some other editorial projects, citing what he felt worked well and what didn’t.
Dean then postulated the creation of an EMiC Editions in order to avoid the label of EMiC projects becoming “coterie publications.” He suggested implementing a peer-review process in order to lend more credence to the work produced by EMiC scholars. However, since over a hundred researchers are now involved in EMiC across Canada, he realizes that arms-length peer-review becomes difficult. He suggested that EMiC might need to cultivate relationships with other Modernist organizations, specifically in the United States (although I imagine he would extend his vision globally as well). This, he believes, will foster a greater level of respectability for EMiC, cultivate a common vocabulary for assessment, and create a de-centred model for digital humanities scholarship. In the process of introducing this idea, Dean talked a bit about the history of EMiC, how it has developed as a network and the ways it has evolved since its inception.
Finally, Dean talked about how to fund our research projects. He spoke at length about the idea of leveraging the resources already at our disposal, such as cultural capital and organizational affiliations, and how to use these (and many, many other) resources to succeed in securing funding.
We covered a lot of ground in the afternoon, and I found my mind bouncing from topic to topic. Not that I wasn’t interested in our conversation: in fact, the opposite was true! Again and again, I was jotting down all kinds of notes, half-formed ideas, twists, turns and re-imaginings I might want to incorporate into my own research – and all from the discussion that was generated today! It was fantastic to share the air with EMiC’s zeitgeist incarnate. Dean’s vitality is infectious, and the enthusiasm he imparts, coupled with Zailig’s immense experience and knowledge, and Matt’s incredible expertise, has me feeling inspired, energized, and eager to dive into my research!
Suffice to say, our morning energy carried through to the end of the day, and is likely to carry me forward as I make my way back to New Brunswick at the end of the week, and beyond…
For day two of Textual Editing Modernism in Canada (TEMiC) our discussions focused on planning both Digital and Print editorial projects. Because we are all at different stages in our projects (or yet to be determined projects) we tried to approach the subject as broadly as possible, sharing and elaborating at points of interests for all. For the sake of simplicity I am going to break the day into three sections (excluding lunch, though our conversations at lunch are often fruitful) and provide a snapshot of what we covered at each point in the day.
We had some exciting news to start off the day. Apparently, Zailig Pollock’s grandchild has been potty trained. All it took were a few M&M’s. Exciting, no?
Part 1: Sage Advice from Zailig Pollock
First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Zailig Pollock whose advice has been invaluable to our discussions. His experience has provided me (and others, I am sure) with a unique and informed perspective on textual editing. My thinking has advanced exponentially in the past week and two days.
Our morning focused on the question “How should we approach editing projects?” And so we spent the morning creating a road map to begin to answer this question.
1. Choosing your institution: Its always important to find an institution with scholars who would be interested (or sympathetic) to your work. If you want to work on a digital editing project, you should try to find an institution with a potential supervisor/advisor who is interested in the Digital Humanities (DH). The same rule applies to Non-DH editing projects.
2. Choosing the author or group you would like to focus on: Try to choose an author or body of work you can justify editing, but also an author/work you are genuinely interested in.
3. Figure out where your material is located: It might be necessary to carry out extensive archival work. Being near (or far) from your material can have a dramatic impact on your work.
4. Permissions: Permissions can be tricky to acquire. Find out who holds the rights to the work, and be sure to consider issues such as privacy and ethics that may crop up.
5. Get to know your body of work: An editing project should be informed by the body of work and the work surrounding the body.
6. Theorizing your project: Decide on the methodolog(ies)y you wish to employ for your project. Deciding this early will help determine the work you do on the text and also shape the output.
After you theorize your project there are many different avenues you can take. The list above is a basic approach and of course there many variations.
Our conversations also stressed the importance of building realistic timelines and carefully considering the amount of work we take on. In addition, we discussed the complicated task of gaining permissions. Potentially stellar projects can be quashed if an editor is denied access or rights to the material. Many factors need to be considered by the editor(s) and those who hold the rights. Factors that can influence these issues include finances, competition, privacy, image control and more.
Part 2: Guest Speaker, Carole Gerson
In the afternoon we were visited by the esteemed and experienced Dr. Carole Gerson. Gerson’s work focuses primarily on early Canadian literature and Canadian book history. She has edited a number of volumes including Pauline Johnson: Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (2000) and E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake: Collected Poems and Selected Prose (2002). Gerson’s talk consisted mainly of anecdotes. She focused not only on her successes as an editor, but also the issues she has faced over her career. These issues ranged from typos, reprints, and problems of design to lack of information access at crucial moments. A discussion of these issues was especially useful because we were able to see what we may be faced with in the future.
Part 3: Image Markup Tool
We spent the remainder of the afternoon looking at the work Zailig Pollock has been doing on The Digital Page with the Image Markup Tool (IMT). For those of you unfamiliar with the markup tool… IMT is a unique and simple tool which allows editors to focus (or tag) interesting points of a document. It is especially useful for annotating, marking up, and noting revisions in materials. One simply scans the image in and then uses IMT to tag the desired space (its a lot like tagging a friend in a photo on facebook). IMT is an extremely valuable and exciting tool because it allows the viewer to get as close to the document as possible without having to go to the archive (a trip we should encourage).
After the IMT tutorial we knocked off for the day. We covered a great deal of ground and I think we all have a better idea of the work we face and the options that are available to us as we proceed.
I’d like to cap this post with a photo of a small token I received from Zailig. The image below presents a worm-cast that he found in Prince Edward Island. What weird and relevant artefact!
“and many and many
come up atom by atom
in the worm-casts of Europe.”
– from “I’ve Tasted My Blood” by Milton Acorn
It seems I have concluded this post the way it has been prefaced…
Week Two at TEMiC looks different this year than it did last and the year before. Rather than being divided between theory and practice, the two weeks at TEMiC are now divided between theory and project planning. During Week One, we plowed through the greatest hits of editorial theory in both text and digital contexts, heard about EMiC projects currently in progress (including work on P.K. Page, Martha Ostenso, and Marius Barbeau), and got a view of the inside of Library and Archives Canada from Catherine Hobbs. This week, we’re taking the theory we’ve learned and applying it to the projects we’re currently planning or working on as EMiC co-applicants and graduate fellows and as undergraduate and Masters students.
We’ve got a fascinating cross-section of participants this week. Today’s post is a run-down of who we are and what we’re working on. Each of us will post about Week Two at some point this week: what we’re learning, the challenges we’ve identified, what we’ve taken from the scholars (Dean Irvine, Carole Gerson, Zailig Pollock, Matt Huculak) who are here to share their experience and expertise in textual and digital editing, and what our projects look like to us on the other side of TEMiC 2011.
As we discussed our projects today, we began to identify the set of challenges and issues that were central to our individual projects but were widely applicable to most of our editorial work. Our goal by the end of the week is to have addressed most of these challenges and to have worked our way as a group toward individual project plans that we can build on when we leave.
Eric Schmaltz is entering his MA year at Brock University under the supervision of Gregory Betts. He is planning a print or digital edition of Milton Acorn and bill bissett’s unpublished 1963 collaboration I Want to Tell You Love as his Masters MRP. Issues & challenges: designing a project that can be completed in a year (with scope to grow afterward); representing a text for which appearance (both type and images) is central; situating a text that straddles the border between modernism and postmodernism.
Shannon Maguire is also entering the Brock MA under the supervision of Gregory Betts. She is planning to work with some of the lesser known publications of Anne Marriott as her MRP–either a Selected Poems edition, or an edition of a specific collection. Issues & challenges: deciding what material deserves renewed editorial attention; designing a project that can be completed in a year (with scope to grow afterward); working with archival material that is located at a distance; deciding what kind of doctoral project to pursue in conjunction with an ongoing editorial project; addressing issues of gender and recuperation in an editorial context.
Melissa Dalgleish is a fourth-year doctoral candidate at York working on the first edition of a larger digital Collected Works of Anne Wilkinson project. Issues & challenges: permissions & copyright; securing assistance and funding prior to becoming faculty; balancing doctoral and editorial work; working on a project that is developing alongside the as-yet incomplete tools that will be used to edit and publish it; addressing issues of gender and recuperation in an editorial context.
Kaarina Mikalson is an undergraduate student at Dalhousie working with Emily Ballantyne and Matt Huculak on the digitization of the French-Canadian periodical Le Nigog. Issues & challenges: thinking through the kinds of editorial work she would like to undertake on her own; representing a text for which appearance (both type and images) is central; editing in French.
Leslie Gallagher is an undergraduate student at Dalhousie who previously worked on Dorothy Livesay’s Right Hand, Left Hand and is now planning to work on Isabelle Patterson. Issues & challenges: deciding what material deserves renewed editorial attention; determining the importance of geography to an author’s work and how to represent that; working with an archive that is located at a distance.
Gene Kondusky is a second-year doctoral candidate at UNB working as a research assistant on Tony Tremblay’s The Selected Fred Cogswell: Critical and Creative, designing the site and interface. Issues & challenges: choosing a markup language (XHTML vs. TEI); defining the purpose of a project–teaching, reading, scholarship; effective interface design; accessibility.
Michael DiSanto is an associate professor at Algoma University working on the war-time letters and collected poems of George Whalley as part of a larger Whalley project that will encompass most of his published and unpublished works. Issues & challenges: permissions & copyright; securing funding; representing a widely varied career and body of work.
We also took a look at Zailig Pollock’s successful SSHRC application for the Digital Page project, and thought about the ways in which we should be conceiving of and representing our projects and project plans. None of us but Michael are at the stage of applying for SSRHC funding, as we’re still at the graduate level, but the kind of thinking required of a SSRHC is the same kind of thinking that will help us create detailed and organized project concepts and plans–and that’s our topic for tomorrow!