Issues in Project Cooperation I: Selecting Writers & Formats

  1. 1. Carole DeBoer-Langworthy

    Brown University

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Developing a digitization project normally includes issues like defining a purpose; defining a topic of local interest; establishing an editorial board to guide the process; creating and prioritizing a list of works; locating copies of the desired editions; facing the joys of transcription, particularly from older publications or microfilm; making decisions about what to encode; and documenting all of this in a database soon to be available on the WWW. Women's projects also present some specialized problems, including the fact that much female writing is hidden in small editions, extracts or unpublished media. The Women Writers Project at Brown illustrates some of these issues. This collaborative project was envisioned initially in 1986 as a project to produce a printed anthology of early modern women's writing. Its overt purpose was to change the canon. It has always worked on the model of collaboration (it was originally composed of six scholars from four institutions--Brown, Un. of New Hampshire, UPenn, Texas A &M). Scholars and Research boards were created in 1995; a Text Acquisition Committee was formed in 1996. TAC is charged with advising on texts to include in the textbase--keeping an eye to the balance of genre, time period, and geographical origin of the writer, within the limits of the WWP's scarce resources. Initially, the WWP said it would capture all of women's writing in English for 500 years. When much more of it was found than anyone had dreamed, the project found itself in the position of editors--choosing (with advice of TAC) texts to give the WWP textbase a certain character. However, now that other projects are joining the fray, the need for editorial vigilance is even greater. It is necessary to define boundaries with greater care. Most projects choose to emphasize a special kind of literature or format (Victorian literature at Indiana, travel literature at Minnesota, secondary literature at Alberta). Others focus on a time period. In launching new projects care is taken to avoid duplication, and efforts are made to proceed as cooperatively as possible. This paper will outline some of these issues and others in greater depth.

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Conference Info

In review

"Virtual Communities"

Hosted at Debreceni Egyetem (University of Debrecen) (Lajos Kossuth University)

Debrecen, Hungary

July 5, 1998 - July 10, 1998

109 works by 129 authors indexed

Series: ACH/ALLC (10), ACH/ICCH (18), ALLC/EADH (25)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC