The State of the Archive: Authors, Scholars, and Curators on Archiving Electronic Literature

Abstract (in English): 

Archiving electronic literature and the challenges raised by this task is a subject of discourse and action as well as a formative force in shaping the emergence of electronic literature as field of scholarly study. The ELO Visionary Landscapes Conference in 2007 dedicated a keynote position to a panel on the topic of preserving electronic literature with archivists from leading universities, and the panel was a cornerstone of discussion at the conference and beyond. The current proposal for a panel on the topic seeks to continue the conversation while extending it to voices not usually included in critical conversation about archiving— artists whose work is selected for preservation. What kinds of experiences are involved in collecting and handing over one’s oeuvre to an archivist? Does this experience affect the practice (artistic and otherwise) of future creation? Are there specific aspects of these questions and their answers that are specific to the digital nature of the objects? Further, as born-digital archiving becomes more central to the digital humanities-- a field that is itself becoming more visible and central to academia in general--what are the questions and challenges shaping current preservation efforts and efforts to represent and communicate these projects as part of the larger humanities?

This panel includes artists, scholars, and archivists central to the field of electronic literature and efforts at archiving it. Matthew Kirschenbaum will discuss the experience of producing the Deena Larsen Collection archive at The Maryland Institute for Technology and releasing its accompanying website. Deena Larsen will share her experience as a writer preparing her work for this collection and will reflect on the significance of the collection’s completion. Stephanie Strickland and Marjorie Luesebrink will describe the technological challenges of finding, collecting, and sending Strickland’s early works of electronic literature to Duke University where an archival collection has just begun, and Will Hansen will discuss the initial stages of the Stephanie Strickland collection from a curatorial perspective. Collectively, this panel highlights the current state of born-digital archiving—where we are, what we’ve learned, and what we need to do.

Databases/Archives referenced:

Titlesort descending Organization responsible
The Deena Larsen Collection Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

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Record posted by: 
Audun Andreassen