Documenting Your Work: A Workshop on Using the ELMCIP Knowledge Base for Authors, Critics, and Teachers of Electronic Literature

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The ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base (http://elmcip.net/knowledgebase) is an open-access research database for documenting information about authors, works of electronic literature, critical writing that references those works, publishers, organizations, events, and teaching resources about e-lit. We propose a hands-on workshop session, ideally two hours in length, to be held in a computer lab with a networked computer available for each participant. The workshop will include a presentation of how authors, scholars, and teachers can use the Knowledge Base for professional purposes, to bring readers to their work, to support their research, and to develop their courses. Contributor accounts will be created for all workshop attendees, and the bulk of the session will be devoted to documenting participant’s work in the Knowledge Base itself, actively creating new records. We will focus in particular on documenting works and papers which have been presented at the ELO conferences.

Participants are encouraged to bring a CV or other documentation of their work to the workshop, in order to have references at hand and easily accessible. The Knowledge Base is intended to document the field of electronic literature as a dynamic field of practice, one whose cultural import becomes more comprehensible when the activities of authors, scholars, publications, performances, and exhibitions can be related to each other, in multiple configurations. We’ve designed the Knowledge Base as a platform in which this complex web of relations is made visible. Users can begin to trace the activities generated or enhanced by a work as it circulates among different reading communities. When a record of a critical article is documented in the KB, all the creative works it references are noted, and cross-references then automatically appear on the record for the work itself. Similarly, cross-references are made to every other type of record it touches—when a work by a particular author is entered, a reference automatically appears on that author's page, likewise for works published by a publisher and so forth. The Knowledge Base is a contributory project, built collectively. It offers authors, critics, and teachers of electronic literature an opportunity to document and share their work, and in the process make it usable to others who are also building the field. Because the Knowledge Base is semantically structured and outputs records in RDF format, it also makes works entered it more visible in machine-readable and processable ways to search engines such as Google and to other scholarly databases. The Knowledge Base is further working with the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL) to share the records documented within it with other databases in the field, such as the ELO Directory, the NT2 database, and the Creative Nation database of Australian electronic literature. All records produced for the Knowledge Base are licensed with a Creative Commons share-alike license, increasing the utility and visibility of the information within it.

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Eric Dean Rasmussen