Roundtable Discussion at ASECS, 2010


ASECS conference, Albuquerque, N.M., 18-21 March, 2010

EEBO, ECCO, and Burney Collection Online:
Some “Noisy Feedback” 

In a 2009 article in the Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer, James May suggested that “scholars need to provide a little noisy feedback to corporate ventures like ECCO if future projects are to benefit from their expertise.”  This roundtable discussion is designed to provide constructive scholarly feedback for ECCO, EEBO, and the Burney Collection Online.  Brief (5-minute) presentations on these databases’ bibliographical problems should focus on ways in which they might be strengthened.  Possible topics include how to correct attribution errors, strengthen search mechanisms, detect and improve digital images that are insufficiently clear or in some cases illegible, augment and clarify holdings information, eliminate duplicate records, signal the existence of listings not reproduced, and so forth.  Following the brief presentations, panelists will consider the issues raised and invite members of the audience to participate in the discussion.  All participants are encouraged to read the set of related readings on the bibliography below, suggest additions to it, and join in discussions on this blog leading up to the session. 

Chair: Anna Battigelli, SUNY Plattsburgh

Panelists: James E. May (Penn State University—DuBois); Sayre Greenfield (University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg); Eleanor Shevlin (West Chester University of Pennsylvania); Stephen Karian (Marquette University); Michael F. Suarez, S.J. (Rare Book School, University of Virginia)

Respondents:  Scott Dawson (Gale/Cengage); Brian Geiger (ESTC); Jo-Ann Hogan, (Proquest)


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2 Responses to “Roundtable Discussion at ASECS, 2010”

  1. a new 18th-century blog, early modern online bibliography « The Long Eighteenth Says:

    […] This blog is designed to supplement her ASECS roundtable scheduled for Albuquerque, 2010: “Some Noisy Feedback.” […]


  2. Anna Battigelli Says:

    In addition to “Some Noisy Feedback,” the following three ASECS sessions also touch on issues related to online text-bases:

    Digital Humanities and the Eighteenth Century: Pros and Cons
    Jeff Ravel, History Faculty, MIT
    I would like to provoke a frank conversation about the promises and perils of the digital humanities in researching and teaching the eighteenth century. I seek 3-4 short presentations (no more than 10-15 minutes each) from colleagues who have created and/or used digital resources and online assignments in their work, or who are thinking about doing so. I would welcome the perspectives of colleagues in our society who are academic administrators (department heads, deans, etc.), and who have either encouraged or discouraged digital humanities scholarship in their institutions. Starry-eyed enthusiasts of our new digital age, as well as those dismayed by its advent, are encouraged to submit proposals.

    Texting, Tweeting, Tagging: The Digital Eighteenth Century 2.0 (Roundtable)
    George H. Williams, English, U.of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, SC 29303 AND
    Lisa Maruca, English, Wayne State U., Detroit, MI 48202
    (Please email both organizers)
    Since the early 1990s, eighteenth-century studies scholars have used Internet-based resources for research and scholarly communication via dedicated websites, list-servs, and static presentations of both primary and secondary sources. In addition to these open and freely accessible online scholarly resources, commercial ventures such as the Gale Group’s Eighteenth-Century Collections Online offer vast databases of digitized works previously available only in a limited number of physical archives. However, as groundbreaking as these tools or services have been in establishing a web presence for eighteenth-century research, they also have their limitations. Dubbed retrospectively “Web 1.0,” they draw both their strengths and weaknesses from their ties to print culture, with its view of text as stable and communication as a one-to-many enterprise. Furthermore, online archives such as ECCO often come at a steep price, excluding many working outside large research institutions.
    While not denying the importance of previous work, this roundtable will consider how the next generation of digital tools is shaping our field. In contrast to the first iteration of online resources, “Web 2.0” is characterized by a view of text-making as dynamic and participatory and communication as a many-to-many undertaking. It privileges a construction of knowledge that is transparent, socially mediated and always in-process. It is open-access, often open-source, with few if any overhead expenses transferred to users. This new media environment is already transforming the academy in fundamental ways, as evidenced by scores of digital humanities centers, online classrooms, interactive digital archives, and social networking sites for scholars. This panel will investigate the changes it has made in the study of the eighteenth-century.
    Prospective panelists are thus encouraged to provide overviews of eighteenth-century projects (both current and imagined) and new pedagogies made possible by Web 2.0 technologies. They can comment as well on future directions in teaching and research enabled by the plethora of free, digital tools and services now available. Through both brief audiovisual presentations and audience participation, we hope to address questions such as these:

    How are tools such as wikis, blogs, digital cameras, and smart phones, and sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, and Google Apps currently being used in research or pedagogy?

    How can we better encourage, evaluate, and share student and/or faculty projects in new media?

    What sorts of new research models do these media encourage?

    Do these tools have the power to engage Gen Y students’ attention and curiosity about Enlightenment thinking?

    How can we use Web 2.0 analogies to help students better understand eighteenth-century social networking and media forms?

    What lessons might we learn for our use of twenty-first-century technologies from eighteenth-century observations about print technology’s influence upon learning, knowledge, and communication?

    What drawbacks should scholars and teachers be wary of as we work with these new tools and services?

    Editing (and Re-Editing) Historical Texts
    Kevin Joel Berland, Penn State Shenango
    Following last year’s successful workshops on the challenges and opportunities of editing, we are proposing another session where we will invite people who are currently developing editions of historical, literary, philosophical, and other texts from the long eighteenth century to discuss their work.
    Topics may include (but are not limited to):
    * The advantages or disadvantages of print and electronic editions.
    * The need for new editions: teaching editions and/or scholarly editions.
    * Effects on editing of changes in the economics of print publishing.
    * The uses of online text-bases in editing and annotation.
    * The challenges of dealing with the critical, aesthetic, and ideological positions of previous editors and critics.
    * The temptations of annotation.
    * Technology and collaboration in editorial projects.
    * Schools and rules: scholarly editing.
    * Discovering plagiarism in primary texts.
    * New (and old) approaches to textual variants, manuscript difficulties, and apparatus.


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