The INKE NewRadial Prototype: Evolving the Space and Nature of Digital Scholarly Editions

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Jon Saklofske

    Acadia University

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How can digital scholarly editions take full advantage of environmentally-generated opportunities to focus on process, collaboration, and distributed control without losing the traditional affordances that make an edition “scholarly?” The Modeling and Prototyping Team of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project is currently exploring ways in which the scholarly edition can be re-imagined within digital settings. Our prototypes function as virtual environments that encourage play within their designed frames, and as Galey and Ruecker (2010) have argued, the trajectory of prototype iterations establishes a valuable record of critical enquiry. In this spirit, we wonder whether the digital scholarly edition, in addition to being perceived as an environment which is a trace record of the theoretical and argumentative motivations that inform the editorial processes of selection, organization and design, could actively and dynamically host the formation of multiple, simultaneous, and community generated editions. Material print editions are records, artefacts that efface the process of their formation, version-objects that assert an argument and establish a historical position through the printed finality of their collation and production. If digital editions are to take full advantage of their environments (rather than simply emulating print traditions) they need to visibly include both process and product, and offer opportunities for editorial diligence, contribution, perspective, control and debate to their users. Top-down forms of authoritative and exclusive editorial selectivity become ironic and anachronistic in dynamic digital environments which privilege “a new kind of scholarly discourse network that eschews traditional institutionally-reinforced hierarchical structures” (Siemens 2011). We are exploring modelling the digital scholarly edition as a social edition workspace in which a community of users can contribute content and emerge from the debilitating condition that William Blake described as “single vision.”

In this spirit, and to provide essential opportunities for user-based contributions and scholarship within digital edition environments, the INKE Modeling and Prototyping team is currently developing a software environment called NewRadial that significantly reinvents an earlier prototype designed by Saklofske and Giffin (2009) and builds on earlier conceptual work by Nowviskie (2007) and Saklofske (2010, 2011). NewRadial’s collaborative space is a reimagining of the digital scholarly edition as a transparent workspace layer in which established primary objects from existing databases can be gathered, organized, correlated, annotated, and augmented by multiple users in a dynamic environment that also features centralised margins for secondary scholarship and debate. The INKE NewRadial prototype—consisting of an HTML5 frontend and server-based backend—is a workspace that uses simple adapters to query databases for specific results, and then uses those results to harvest representations of the objects (i.e. thumbnails) to populate its workspace. Linked data and annotations produced by a community of users in relation to these objects within NewRadial’s environment then become available to other applications. Our focus on relational data models, scalable data browsing, and crowd-sourced descriptive frameworks means that the INKE NewRadial prototype is being designed as an effective means for working with all types of media objects, for aggregating search results from multiple databases using meta-adapters, and for making its RDF-based secondary scholarship and annotation data available over HTTP for use in other tools and workspaces. Currently, our prototype installation has successfully used adapters to import NINES/ARC data, the Archbook image repository, Google images and other scholarly database holdings.

NewRadial’s affordances introduce a dynamic multiplicity of vision into what has traditionally been a reductive, oppositional and snail’s pace process of inter-edition debate and evolution. The development of this digital edition environment prototype is the first step towards creating inclusive editorial workspaces which draw from broad data foundations and which encourage knowledge-building communities to actively reimagine edition-building processes. This poster/demonstration session is designed to offer conference participants hand-on experience with the INKE NewRadial prototype and to demonstrate the ways that the unique affordances and flexibility of this workspace impacts the nature of scholarly editing, the scholarly edition itself, and the secondary scholarship that such editions generate.

Galey, A., and S. Ruecker (2010). How a Prototype Argues. LLC, 25(4): 405-424.
Nowviskie, B. (2007). Collex: Collections and Exhibits for the Remixable Web. Electronic Book Review. 1-17.
Saklofske, J. (2011). Remediating William Blake: Unbinding the Narrative Architectures of Blake’s Songs. European Romantic Review 22(3): 381-88.
Saklofske, J. (2010). NewRadial: Re-visualizing the Blake Archive. In Poetess Archive Journal. 2(1).
Saklofske, J., and J. M. Giffin (2009). NewRadial.
Siemens, R., et al. Toward Modeling the Social Edition: An Approach to Understanding the Electronic Scholarly Edition in the Context of New and Emerging Social Media, Accepted for publication in Literary and Linguistic Computing. 70.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2013
"Freedom to Explore"

Hosted at University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States

July 16, 2013 - July 19, 2013

243 works by 575 authors indexed

XML available from (still needs to be added)

Conference website:

Series: ADHO (8)

Organizers: ADHO