Posts Tagged ‘MLA 2009’

Variants, Digital Scholarship at MLA 2009

December 14, 2009

A two-part post:

    Part 1: Reviews of electronic and digital tools

A recent announcement by Wim Van-Mierlo, the reviews editor for Variants: Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship, speaks to the growing recognition of the importance that digital tools are acquiring in scholarship.

I am planning to introduce a new regular feature in the journal with reviews of digital editions and electronic archives. … At the moment, only very few organs and organizations take the matter of reviewing these edition at heart. In an academic climate that increasingly depends on impact and
bibliometrics, it is of huge importance that digital editions deserve this kind of rigorous assessment.

Wim’s decision to include reviews of digital editions and electronic archives as a regular feature of Variants responds to a pressing need for a peer-reviewed forum for these resources. Having reviews of digital editions and electronic archives will heighten awareness of their existence as well as their strengths and weaknesses. The review process will also, it is hoped, draw attention to such projects as respected forms of scholarship that should be considered in tenure and promotion decisions and more. While it is not clear whether Variants will also review commercial databases devoted to providing digital facsimiles of texts, scholarly assessments of these tools are indeed needed. Librarians have taken a leading role in reviewing these resources, but reviews by scholars in disciplines that use these tools are scarce. Given the textual and bibliographic issues associated with these databases, reviews by scholars could help identify shortcomings and also provide valuable commentary about their strengths. Such a discussion, moreover, could assist in the planning and development of future databases.

    Part 2: MLA 2009 Panels on Digital/Electronic scholarship & teaching

For those attending the MLA 2009 conference in Philadelphia, 27-30, 2009. the following list offers a sample of panels of possible interest.

Sunday, 27 December

  • 2:00–5:00 p.m.
    2. Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion: A Workshop for Evaluators and Candidates
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon C
    Program arranged by the MLA Ad Hoc Committee on the Structure of the Annual Convention
  • Monday, 28 December

  • 8:30–9:45 a.m.
    141. Locating the Literary in Digital Media
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon A
    Program arranged by the Division on Literature and Science
  • 10:15–11:30 a.m.
    170. Value Added: The Shape of the E-Journal
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon C
  • 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m.
    212. Language Theory and New Communications Technologies
    Loews, Jefferson
    Program arranged by the Division on Language Theory
  • 1:45–3:00 p.m.
    264. Media Studies and the Digital Scholarly Present
    Philadelphia Marriott, 411-412
    Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Media and Literature
  • 1:45–3:45 p.m.
    265. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon A
    Program arranged by the Office of the Executive Director
  • 1:45–3:00 p.m.
    245. Old Media and Digital Culture
    Loews, Washington C
  • 1:45–3:00 p.m.
    254. Web 2.0: What Every Student Knows That You Might Not
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon C
    Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Information Technology. Presiding: Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford
  • 7:15–8:30 p.m.
    322. Looking for Whitman: A Cross-Campus Experiment in Digital Pedagogy
    Philadelphia Marriott, 410
  • Tuesday, 29 December

  • 8:30–9:45 a.m.
    380. Digital Scholarship
    Philadelphia Marriott, Liberty Ballroom Salon A
    Program arranged by the Division on Nonfiction Prose Studies, Excluding Biography and Autobiography
  • 8:30–9:45 a.m.
    361. Making Research: Limits and Barriers in the Age of Digital Reproduction
    Philadelphia Marriott, 411-412
    Program arranged by the Division on Methods of Literary Research
  • 10:15–11:30 a.m.
    420. Digital Scholarship and African American Traditions
    Philadelphia Marriott, 307
    Program arranged by the Association for Computers and the Humanities
  • 1:45–3:00 p.m.
    490. Links and Kinks in the Chain: Collaboration in the Digital Humanities
    Philadelphia Marriott, 410
    Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Computer Studies in Language and Literature
  • Wednesday, 30 December

  • 8:30–9:45 a.m.
    625. Making Research: Collaboration and Change in the Age of Digital Reproduction
    Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom Salon L
    Program arranged by the Division on Methods of Literary Research
  • 8:30–9:45 a.m.
    643. New Models of Authorship
    Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom Salon K
    Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Information Technology
  • 10:15–11:30 a.m.
    656. New Technologies, New Rhetorics
    Philadelphia Marriott, 309
    Program arranged by the Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition
  • Readers are invited to offer any other relevant panels that should be included, and additional details from presenters on these panels are also welcome. Conference attendees who attend any of these or other relevant sessions should feel free to contribute summaries of what transpired.

    On Monday the 28th, the 1:45 to 3:00 pm slot offers a wealth of digital topics (and thus conflicts), so it would especially be helpful to hear about these sessions. Among the panels taking place at this time is Web 2.0: What Every Student Knows That You Might Not, organized by the MLA Committee on Information Technology with Laura Mandell presiding. At the same 1:45 pm time slot on Tuesday the 29th is a panel whose title embodies many the issues and concerns we have been discussing on emob: Links and Kinks in the Chain: Collaboration in the Digital Humanities. Abstracts of this panel’s presentations are available electronically. Laura Mandel is presenting at this session.

    Early Tuesday morning the 8:30 am panel, Making Research: Limits and Barriers in the Age of Digital Reproduction, features four presentations, two of which seem especially germane to our discussions. The first paper, “The History and Limitations of Digitisation,” is by William Baker, who has served as the editor for Years Work in English Studies (Oxford UP) for many years and handles, often with another colleague, the section devoted to Bibliography and Textual Criticism. The fourth paper, “A Proposed Model for Peer Review of Online Publications,” by Jan Pridmore, Boston Univ., pertains to Wim’s review plans discussed above.

    Although not dealing with electronic resources per se, Laura Mandell, David Mazella, and Laura Rosenthal, all of whom post to emob, will be together on the following panel dedicated to assessment:

    215. Learning from Assessment
    12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon A, Philadelphia Marriott
    Program arranged by the MLA Office of Research
    Presiding: Donna Heiland, Teagle Foundation
    Speakers: Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford; David Samuel Mazella, Univ. of Houston; John Ottenhoff, Associated Colls. of the Midwest; Laura Rosenthal, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

    As someone who is overseeing assessment for my department, I have increasingly been working on employing digital tools to facilitate the process. In addition, assessing information literacy skills seems as it should be a significant part of evaluating humanities programs, especially English and history.


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