This is the final version of the proposal narrative submitted to the Mellon Foundation on April 25, 2018. The Mellon Foundation has awarded funding for the first stage.
A Comprehensive Online Portal for Electronic Literature Works (COPE)
PIs: Dr. Dene Grigar, Professor & Director, Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver; Nicholas Schiller, Librarian III, Washington State University Vancouver; Abby Adams, Digital Archivist, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin; and Dr. Leonardo Flores, Professor, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
Part 1: Overview
This proposal requests support for migrating the Electronic Literature Organization’s (ELO) digital archives, which consist of works of born digital literature––or what is referred to in the field as “electronic literature” (e-lit)––to an open source repository system that ensures their preservation and access to the public.
This project is part of a larger vision involving the development of the ELO’s repository of electronic literature––that is, to make works 1) discoverable and accessible to the public, and 2) viewable in their native software environments. There are three stages in our larger project, of which this grant request figures as the first:
Stage 1 (This grant): Transform, refine, and migrate descriptive, technical, and administrative metadata for electronic literature in the ELO’s digital archives to a digital repository. This stage requires the implementation of a comprehensive digital asset management system that provides 1) digital storage management for preservation and access copies, 2) full-text searchable database of metadata for all entries, and 3) public discovery. At the completion of Stage 1, all works in ELO’s archives can be discovered by the public through a digital asset management system.
Stage 2: Ingest the actual works of electronic literature, including all the born digital files they are composed of, into the digital management system where the migrated metadata can accompany the works. At the completion of this stage the works with appropriate rights can be downloaded and viewed, provided the software needed to access the work is available.
Stage 3: To provide software and hardware emulation for all works of electronic literature that ELO owns or for which it has secured the copyright. At the completion of this stage, works in the repository will be available online for viewing and study as emulations by the public.
In regards to Stage 1, the ELO has already inventoried its archives, attained agreements with ETCL and Compute Canada for repository space, and identified an appropriate digital asset management system, Samvera.
Part 2: Rationale for the Project
The born digital works of literature on which this project focuses fall into a curious historical juncture. They represent a cultural shift beginning in the late 1980s as literary artists began to make the leap from print to electronic media for the purpose of artistic expression. This coincided with the infancy of the World Wide Web, so standards and processes for creation and publication changed rapidly. Because of the uniqueness of the forms, many of these early works were not collected by libraries, or if they were, still are not made accessible to the public for fear of damage to the disks, as seen in Judy Malloy’s database novel Uncle Roger (1986-88). It took time for memory organizations to adapt to changing practices of publication, and this creates a specific niche and need for our work. Many works published on the early World Wide Web have gone dark and exist only as files owned by the author, such as Patricia Mognahan’s poem, “Examination,” or by collectors, such as Diana Slattery’s multimedia narrative The Glide Project. For many, the underlying software and hardware dependencies have rendered the work inaccessible or incomplete, such as the case of Sasha West and Ernesto Lavandera’s poem “Zoology.” Even those that have been collected are more than often stored in analog collections, like Stephanie Strickland’s hypertext poem True North, where the work is understandably preserved in a specialized location but separated from the container, accompanying inserts, and author’s papers that contextualize it. Scholars who manage to discover a work like Strickland’s likely lack access to the hardware necessary to experience the works. In all cases these innovative works of electronic literature involve varying degrees of interactivity and multimedia that could not be easily presented with the cataloging and archiving practices of the time in which they were created. So, many of them are disappearing before scholars have a chance to document them or archivists are able to preserve them for long-term access.
This project seeks to resolve these challenges by gathering collections of these works owned or managed by the ELO into a single digital asset management system that will streamline the metadata and establish a framework where the works’ preservation is directly tied to access. In the first stage of the project (covered by this grant application) the digital contents of the ELO’s seven individual archives will be migrated to a single digital asset management system. We will be able to perform quality-control on the existing descriptive metadata and make this metadata available to the public. Future stages of the project, as mentioned previously, will consist of storing the digital contents of the works in the ELO’s repository and later, providing access to the works through software and hardware emulation.
This project addresses the need for improved access, discovery, and preservation for born digital literary works. Collecting them in a digital asset management system and establishing a framework that ties preservation to access will enable these vital works to be available to scholars of the present and future.
Part 3: The Team and Collaboration
The project is led by a team of electronic literature specialists working across electronic literature, media archaeology, library systems, digital archiving, platform studies, and Digital Humanities:
- Dene Grigar: President, ELO; Professor, Creative Media & Digital Culture; Director, Electronic Literature Lab, Washington State University Vancouver; Research Affiliate, ETCL
- Nicholas Schiller: Coordinator, ELO; Associate Director, Electronic Literature Lab; Librarian III, Washington State University Vancouver
- Abby Adams: Board Member, ELO; Digital Archivist, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin
- Leonardo Flores: Vice-President, ELO; Professor, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
The project also reflects a collaboration among the ELO, Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV), Electronic Textual Cultures Laboratory (ETCL), and Compute Canada.
About the ELO
The Electronic Literature Organization was founded in 1999 in the United States “to foster and promote the reading, writing, teaching, and understanding of literature as it develops and persists in a changing digital environment.” A 501c(3) non-profit organization, the ELO includes writers, artists, teachers, scholars, and developers. Supported early on through sponsorships from dot.com businesses, it broadened its scope to include an academic focus and moved to UCLA under the guidance of noted media theorist N. Katherine Hayles, where it was supported by UCLA’s English, SINAPSE, and Design|Media Arts departments. The ELO’s first symposium, “State of the Arts,” was held at UCLA in 2002. During this period the ELO’s publications about preservation, archiving and dissemination, Acid-Free Bits (2004) and Born-Again Bits (2005) occurred; work on the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1, its anthology of electronic literary works, was also begun.
Upon the departure of Hayles from UCLA to Duke University in 2006, the ELO moved to the University of Maryland, College Park where it was supported by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities under the direction of Digital Humanities scholar and ELO Board Member Matthew Kirschenbaum, with literary scholar Joseph Tabbi, serving as ELO President. Under Tabbi’s leadership, the organization developed the Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL) to support the development of a centralized system of taxonomies relating to electronic literature across databases, world-wide. The project received funding from a 2009 National Endowment for the Humanities Start Up grant. The growth of the organization due to its academic affiliations created the need to bring electronic literature scholars and artists together more frequently. This awareness led to the ELO’s second symposium, “The Future of Electronic Literature,” that took place at the University of Maryland, College Park on May 3, 2007 and its first conference and media arts festival, “Visionary Landscapes,” at Washington State University Vancouver, chaired by Grigar and John Barber in June 2008.
In 2010 the ELO moved to MIT under the leadership of then-President Nick Montfort (2010-2013) and later Grigar (2013-2019). This period is marked by the publication of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volumes 2 and 3, as well as the Pathfinders Project, produced by Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop. Beginning 2013, the ELO expanded its Board of Directors to include international scholars and artists and began hosting conferences and festivals outside the United States. Following the 2010 conference and festival at Brown University, chaired by John Cayley, and the 2012 conference and festival at West Virginia University, the ELO held conferences and festivals in Paris, France (2013); Milwaukee, WI (2014); Bergen, Norway (2015); Victoria, B.C. (2016), and Porto, Portugal (2017); its next conferences are scheduled for Montréal (2018) and Cork, Ireland (2019). The organization also held exhibits, readings, and performances at venues and events like the Library of Congress, the Kitchen, the British Computer Society, the Pompidou, Le Cube, the Modern Language Association, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the Society of Literature, Science and the Arts, and the International Symposium on Electronic Art. In 2016 the organization was invited to work with Bloomsbury Academic Press on a special book series, Electronic Literature. Edited by Dr. Helen Burgess, Grigar, Dr. Maria Mencia, and Dr. Rui Torres, it will begin with a book by John Cayley (forthcoming 2018). Partnerships with the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC) also occurred during this period. On July 1, 2017 the organization moved to Washington State University Vancouver, where it will reside until 2022. Leonardo Flores will begin his three-year term as President in summer 2019.
During its history, the ELO has been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada).
The ELO-WSUV Connection
As mentioned in the previous section, the relationship between the ELO and WSUV involves a formal agreement for the university to act as the ELO’s sponsoring institution from 2017-2022. Under that agreement, university resources, such as grant oversight, office and technical support, and office space, are made available to the organization. This relationship has also resulted in Grigar’s research lab at WSUV––the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL)––to be designated by the ELO as the hub of archiving and documenting works of electronic literature on behalf of the organization. Working directly with Grigar in ELL is Co-PI, Nicholas Schiller who as Associate Director lends his expertise in information systems to the lab’s work with documentation of electronic literature.
The ELO-ETCL-Compute Canada Connection
The collaboration between the ELO and ETCL, the research lab directed by Dr. Ray Siemens at the University of Victoria, B.C., began in 2014 when the ELO was invited to teach courses about electronic literature in the ETCL’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute. In 2015 Grigar, as President of the ELO and a scholar of electronic literature, was invited to become a Research Affiliate with the ETCL. The collaboration between the ELO and the ETCL continued through the ETCL’s hosting of the ELO 2016 Conference and Media Arts Festival. In 2017, the ELO with ETCL’s help entered into a formal agreement for Compute Canada to provide free server space for hosting the ELO’s archives, thus supporting the ELO’s initiative to build an electronic literature repository.
Thus, the proposed project represents an initiative involving WSUV, the ELO, ETCL, and Compute Canada through academic and professional collaborations sanctioned through formal agreements. For the purpose of this grant, WSUV is providing grant oversight and is the lead institution in the project. The two lead PIs both are on faculty at WSUV.
Part 4: Advancement of Mission
The first goal listed in WSUV’s Strategic Plan, 2016-2021 is to “[a]dvance excellence in research and creativity consistent with the university’s strategic missions and grand challenges.” This goal led to the university’s decision to host the ELO and to support it by providing, among many operational resources, a faculty librarian to work with its archives. It also contributed to Grigar’s award of a Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship in support of her research on e-lit and her Electronic Literature Lab, which oversees the seven ELO archives. Thus, this project enhances the research mission of the university by making information about works of electronic literature more readily available to scholars, world-wide.
A second strategic goal involves student learning and undergraduate research. As a Research 1 institution WSUV requires that its students are given opportunities to engage in research activities outside of the classroom. In that regard, students selected to work on this project would undertake the quality control of the metadata migrated to the digital asset management system. This experience would help them gain knowledge of research methodologies, lab procedures, procedural logic, and library and archival practices. It should be noted that these undergraduate students will be drawn from the Creative Media and Digital Culture program, directed by Grigar, which has a 90% job placement rate for its undergraduates. This success has been due in part to the hands-on learning opportunities the faculty have systematically provided to their students. Grigar has employed and trained students in the Electronic Literature Lab since its inception in 2011; some have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in the US, Canada, and the UK, and all are gainfully employed in their chosen fields. All students selected for this project will have completed coursework that address topics such as information systems, metadata, and management systems.
Since its founding in 1999, the ELO’s mission has been “to facilitate and promote the writing, publishing, and reading of literature in electronic media.” Thus, making the metadata of the ELO’s archives available to the public is vital for achieving its mission.
Part 5: Contextualizing the Project
Works of electronic literature are currently held in the collections of libraries and archives. The Harry Ransom Humanities Center, for example, has collected the papers and media of pioneering electronic literature author, Michael Joyce. The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University holds the papers of Stephanie Strickland, Judy Malloy, and Robert Kendall. Likewise, the Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park has collected the papers and works of e-lit authors Deena Larsen and Bill Bly. The Stanford University Library also holds work by Malloy, as does the library at the Museum of Modern Art. Along with these important venues that make the works of six leading American electronic literature authors available to the public, the ELO also has a central role to play in providing access to and preserving electronic literature. First, the ELO’s collections currently constitute over 700 works by 500 authors from 26 countries working in 13 different languages, thus reflecting a large representation of the field’s global output from the mid-1980s to the present. Second, because this project aims to make information (and eventually works themselves) available online, access does not require travel to a specific library or museum to view the collection. Third, the ELO has long focused on the specific needs of born digital literary works by laying out best practices for standardizing processes relating to them and so has already developed the taxonomies, naming conventions, and search requirements necessary for articulating information about electronic literature works.
The ELO archives currently consist of seven collections of born digital content from organizations, projects, and individual artists, including:
- Turbulence.org: 356 works of e-lit and Internet art, most now accessible, commissioned by founder Helen Thorington and Jo-Anne Green.
- trAce Online Writing Centre: Works by approximately 24 e-lit authors from literary competitions and its journal (frAme) relating to this influential UK organization founded by media theorist Sue Thomas, 1995-2005.
- ELO’s video collection of readings and performances by 10 authors at ELO events, circa 1999-2006; production files of Electronic Literature Collections, Volumes 1-3, amounting to 235 works.
- Pathfinders: 104 video clips, 204 digital images, and three audio files, as well as all raw files relating to this documentation project of four pioneering authors, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, covering the period of production of the project, 2013-2015.
- BeeHive Hypertext/Hypermedia Journal: Digital files from all five volumes that published electronic literature and criticism from 1998 to 2002.
- Individual artists’ archives: E-lit and digitized materials (e.g. manuscripts, publishing contracts, art) by artists Sarah Smith, David Kolb, Jeremy Hight, Alan Sondheim, and others.
- N. Katherine Hayles’ personal collection of 56 rare floppy disks and CD-ROMs published by the Voyager Company and other publishers as well as self-published works by electronic literature artists.
With media and materials collected and inventoried, the ELO is ready to migrate the available metadata to a digital asset management system that will make it possible to access information about these works. Ideally, at later dates works themselves will be available to be downloaded as well as emulated. The ELO intends to continue expanding its collections and making information and works of electronic literature accessible for long-term study and access.
ELO’s Efforts to Develop Processes
The ELO has been developing processes for its collections for well over 10 years. The organization began by developing guidelines for handling obsolescence inherent in born digital media, an endeavor that resulted in two publications that provide suggestions for best practices: Acid Free Bits (2004) and Born Again Bits (2005). At the same time, the organization began collecting and publishing electronic literary works for an open-source anthology, called the Electronic Literature Collection (ELC), that the organization creates and publishes every five years.
In 2010 the ELO founded the Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL) to develop the information architecture needed for making born digital creative works and scholarly criticism findable across databases, world-wide. Providing supervision of CELL’s various projects are 11 member organizations, research labs, and research centers, led and managed by the ELO:
- CIBERIA (Spain), led by Maria Goicoechea, Laura Sanchez Gomez, and Begona A. Regueiro Salgado
- NT2 (Canada), led by Bertrand Gervais, Gabriel Gaudette, and Arianne Savoie
- ex (Portugal), led by Rui Torres
- ELCMIP (Norway), led by Scott Rettberg
- ADEL (Germany), led by Joergen Schaeffer, Peter Gendolla, and Robert Kalman
- I ♥︎ E-Poetry (PR), led by Leonardo Flores
- Brown Digital Repository (US), led by John Cayley
- ADELTA (Australia), led by Anna Gibbs and Maria Angel
- EBR (US), led by Erik Rasmussen, Joe Tabbi, and Will Luers
- Hermenia (Catalonia), led by Laura Borras
- ELL (US), led by Dene Grigar and Nicholas Schiller
Their work, funded by a 2009 National Endowment for the Humanities Start Up Grant, developed the naming convention, controlled vocabulary, and descriptive metatags needed for electronic literature, as well as created a global search engine for finding works across databases.
Additionally, Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop, another ELO Board Member and prominent artist and theorist of e-lit, developed the methodology for documenting born digital literature. Their project, Pathfinders, was funded by a 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Start Up Grant. At the heart of the Pathfinders methodology is the Traversal process, which, through video and audio recordings, captures the experience readers have with the works when performing them on their historically appropriate platforms. Grigar and Moulthrop published their findings in an open-source, multimedia book built on the Scalar platform, entitled Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature (2015), and their critical commentary as a print book of criticism, Traversals: The Use of Preservation for Early Electronic Writing, by The MIT Press in 2017.
Grigar and Schiller have built upon the Pathfinders methodology by expanding audience participation in the Traversal process through broadcasting reader performances via live stream technology made possible by YouTube. Additionally, during reader Traversals Grigar and Schiller engaged audiences on social media through live tweeting and posting. They made the video footage of the Traversals available for viewing on YouTube and Vimeo but also collected all of the media into open-source, multimedia book on the Scalar platform called Rebooting Electronic Literature: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media. They have published the introductory materials and Chapters 1-4 featuring the Live Stream Traversal of Sarah Smith’s hypertext novel, King of Space (1991); David Kolb’s hypertext essay, Socrates in the Labyrinth; and J. Yellowlees Douglas’ hypertext narrative “I Have Said Nothing,” and will continue to deliver additional chapters reflecting the other scheduled Traversals serially over the next two months.
With the processes for preserving, tagging, and documenting in place, the ELO is ready to set up a data asset management system, migrate the metadata from its seven collections, and prepare the system for public access. Each collection has developed and documented metadata in different ways, which will require several strategies to migrate. Most of the collections clearly document basic information, such as author, title, and publication date, which can be manually entered when ingesting files into the Samvera system. Many of the works, both critical and creative, are described using Dublin Core and MODS in the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, and the system can export the metadata as an XML file that we can then harvest and enter into the Samvera system. Individual artists’ archives and collections will need to be described as they are ingested into Samvera.
Part 6: Data Management System
There are three criteria that the team used for selecting the data management system for this project: 1) it must make the metadata easily findable and searchable for users in a web browser, 2) it must, in later stages of the project, be able to make the works themselves accessible either in a streaming emulated environment or via download, and 3) it must be compatible with the technology and expertise available with Compute Canada and WSUV IT consultants. In that regard, we have identified Samvera, which consists of Fedora, Solr, Blacklight, Ruby on Rails and so offers us the flexibility to customize an online public access portal that links back to a robust, secure, digital repository.
Samvera’s flexibility will also allow the ELO to address the diverse needs of each of its collections instead of making it fit into a rigid out-of-the-box system. Samvera has a wide user base in the library, archives, and museum community, which the ELO can look to for support during migration. Since Samvera is an open source product, users are not locked into a proprietary system and can easily migrate out of Samvera, if necessary. It will also work with Compute Canada’s server and within the expertise of its IT personnel.
Part 7: Project Personnel
- The Implementation Team:
- Dene Grigar (WSUV), Lead PI and Lab Director
Duties: As Lead PI: Serving as liaison between team and funding agency; coordinating the reporting documents with the Project Manager. As Lab Director: Working directly with students in the lab to ensure that quality control of the migrated metadata is undertaken in a timely and correct manner; ensuring the lab has what it needs for the project.
Grigar is Professor and Director of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver whose research focuses on the creation, curation, preservation, and criticism of Electronic Literature, specifically building multimedial environments and experiences for live performance, installations, and curated spaces; desktop computers; and mobile media devices. She has authored 14 media works such as “Curlew” (2014), “A Villager’s Tale” (2011), the “24-Hour Micro E-Lit Project” (2009), “When Ghosts Will Die” (2008), and “Fallow Field: A Story in Two Parts” (2005), as well as 54 scholarly articles and three books. She also curates exhibits of electronic literature and media art, mounting shows at the British Computer Society and the Library of Congress and for the Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), among other venues. With Stuart Moulthrop (U of Wisconsin Milwaukee) she developed the methodology for documenting born digital media, a project that culminated in an open-source, multimedia book, entitled Pathfinders (2015), and book of media art criticism, entitled Traversals (2017), for The MIT Press. She is President of the Electronic Literature Organization, Associate Editor of Leonardo Reviews and Literary Studies in the Digital Age (LSDA), and a series editor for Electronic Literature, with Bloomsbury Press. In 2017 she was awarded the Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship by her university. She also directs the Electronic Literature Lab at WSUV. She is currently pursuing the digital archiving certification though the Society of American Archivists.
- Nicholas Schiller (WSUV), Co-PI and Project Manager
Duties: Communicating among institutions and organizations; ensuring completion in concert with the proposed timeline; taking the lead with the necessary reporting documents; assisting other team members as needed.
Schiller is a Librarian III (equivalent to associate professor) at Washington State University Vancouver. His research specialties lie in library information systems and information literacy instruction. He serves as Associate Director of the Electronic Literature Lab, working to archive electronic literature and other forms of born digital media. He is also the Office Coordinator for the Electronic Literature Organization. He is currently pursuing the digital archiving certification though the Society of American Archivists.
- Abby Adams (Ransom Humanities Center), Co-PI and Digital Archivist
Duties: Overseeing the metadata migration of the various archives to Samvera; providing guidance on the implementation of metadata schemas and descriptive standards for documenting and providing online access to them.
Adams is the Digital Archivist at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin where her primary focus is to lead the stewardship of born digital archival materials and collaborate with staff to develop access methods for born digital materials at the Center. She has over ten years of experience as a professional archivist, during which time she worked as Digital Projects Coordinator at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware and Access and Electronic Records Archivist at Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia. Ms. Adams earned her M.A. in Public History from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2004 and an M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina in 2008.
- Leonardo Flores (UPR), Co-PI and Asset Manager
Duties: Designing the front-end interface; building and configuring Samvera; assisting with descriptions, taxonomies, and basic metadata as the repository is developed in Samvera; testing works and media they contain.
Flores is a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus and Vice President of the Electronic Literature Organization. He was the 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar in Digital Culture at the University of Bergen. His research areas are electronic literature, poetry, and preservation of first generation electronic objects. He is the lead writer, publisher, and editor of a scholarly blogging project titled I ♥ E-Poetry (http://iloveepoetry.com) and served as the Editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 3.
- Greg Philbrook (WSUV), Information Technology Specialist, WSUV
Duties: Trouble-shooting technical needs with Compute Canada; providing assistance with Samvera configuration and other issues relating to the system.
Philbrook specializes in server management, full stack web development, and content development. A 2013 graduate of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, he has collaborated on and assisted with numerous projects such as Grigar’s Curlew, commissioned by the OLE.01 Festival in Naples, Italy; and sound artist John Barber’s Remembering the Dead, exhibited recently in Ireland and Washington, D.C. He developed the web game “Fort Vancouverville” for the Grand Emporium of the West app, led by Dene and Brett Oppegaard and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also served as the technical support at exhibits curated by Dene at the Library of Congress, Electronic Literature Organization 2012 and 2016 conferences, and Digital Humanities Summer Institute of 2013 and 2014 in Victoria, Canada. He also teaches web development at Clark College.
- Other Personnel
Ray Siemens, PhD
Ray Siemens is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, in English with cross appointment in Computer Science, appointed also 2004-15 as Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing. Siemens is also Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, and has been Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for English Studies London (2005, 2008) as well as Visiting Professor at Sheffield Hallam U (2004-11), Ritsumeikan U Kyoto (2010), New York U (2013), U Passau (2014), U Tokyo (2014), and Western Sydney U (2015); in 2017-18, he is Visiting Professor at Western Sydney U. The Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) he directs acts as an intellectual centre for the activities of some twenty local faculty, staff, and students as well as visiting scholars who work closely with research centres, libraries, academic departments, and projects locally and in the larger community, while also serving as academic home to a number of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and academic staff. The SSHRC-funded Major Collaboration Research Initiative INKE project and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute Siemens directs are based in ETCL.
Dr. Siemens is not receiving compensation for his guidance and support of the project. His role is simply to ensure that the work promised in the formal agreement by ETCL/Compute Canada for the ELO is undertaken and completed as specified. This includes establishing Samvera on the server site and migrating the metadata.
Martin is the main point of contact for access to the server where the repository resides with Compute Canada. He handles all technical work requiring root access to the server for configuring the data asset management system and providing open access to information to the public.
Undergraduate researchers, four total, will be selected from students in The Creative Media and Digital Culture program who have already taken courses in Information Structures and Multimedia Authoring. They will 1) oversee quality control of the migrated metadata by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL), and 2) help with the usability testing of the site.
Part 8: Expected Outcomes
By the end of Stage One of this project, we will have designed the front-end interface and built and configured Samvera; migrated and fine-tuned metadata; and tested the site. With this completed pilot, students and scholars would have access to materials that were previously unavailable or have become unavailable as the publications go offline. It will also be a proof of concept that can develop into a more comprehensive repository and archive of electronic literature which will help preserve these works for posterity.
Part 9: Timeline
The duration of the project runs from June 1, 2018-December 30, 2018.
June 1, 2018
- Meeting #1 takes place: The Implementation Team (all four Co-PIs and Philbrook) will convene at the ETCL office at Victoria, B.C. to work with the representative of ETCL/Compute Canada to review tagging system, determine interface needs, and identify specific requirements of the collections. They will migrate the metadata from org while there in order to ensure the system works and metadata has been migrated properly.
June 4-15, 2018
- Grigar and Schiller hold training workshop for the four undergraduate researchers about the tagging system and evaluating metadata.
- Adams, Flores, and Philbrook troubleshoot issues relating to Samvera that may arise.
June 18- July 6, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of org by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata of the trAce Online Writing Centre collection; Flores works on the interface.
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the trAce Online Writing Centre collection.
July 9-August 10, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of the trAce Online Writing Center collection by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata for the ELO’s collection of videos and check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the org collection; Flores fine tunes the interface.
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the ELO’s collection of videos.
August 13- August 24, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of ELO’s collection of videos by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata for the Pathfinders collection and check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the trAce Online Writing Centre collection
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the Pathfinders
August 27-September 21, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of the Pathfinders collection by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata for the BeeHive collection and check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the ELO’s collection of videos.
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the BeeHive
September 24-October 26, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of the BeeHive collection by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata for the individual artists’ collection and check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the Pathfinders
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the individual artists’ archive.
October 29-November 22, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of the individual artists’ archive by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores migrate the metadata for the Hayles’ collection and check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the BeeHive
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the Hayles’ collection.
November 26-December 13, 2018
- The undergraduate researchers begin work overseeing quality control of the migrated metadata of the Hayles’ collection by cross-checking its accuracy and controlled vocabulary with other online databases, such as the Electronic Literature Directory, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, NT2, and other projects in the Consortium for Electronic Literature (CELL).
- Adams and Flores check the work completed by the undergraduate researchers for the Hayles’ collection.
- Philbrook works with ETCL/Compute Canada team to troubleshoot issues that may arise for the Hayles’ collection.
December 17-December 30, 2018
- Grigar, Schiller, Flores, and Adams and undergraduate researchers conduct final usability testing on the site.
- Meeting #2: Grigar, Schiller, Flores, Adams, and Philbrook convene at the Electronic Literature Lab to finalize the project and talk about next steps.
Part 10. Sustainability
The ELO is committed to its archiving projects. The sustainability of the project is not reliant on WSUV’s hosting of the organization, which runs until 2022. Upgrades to Samvera and overseeing the works themselves will be handled by Compute Canada, which is supported through the government of Canada. Long-term plans for the ELO’s archives, as mentioned previously, include mirroring its archives in various locations across North America and beyond to ensure redundancy and continued access.
Part 11: Reporting
WSUV, with the help of the ELO, will provide the Mellon Foundation with a final report according to the schedule specified in the Foundation’s award letter. Nicholas Schiller, the Co-PI and Project Manager, is the person designated for reporting and will follow the Foundation’s specifications.