Publishing Opportunity with SHARP

SHARP (the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) has just begun a new review series on electronic scholarly resources.

If you (or one of your graduate students) would be interested in doing a 750-word review of an online scholarly resource (such as The Whitman Archive or The Cather Archive) or a subscription database (such as “African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century”), please contact Katherine Harris at Any questions can be directed towards Prof. Harris as well.

Society for Textual Scholarship 2011

A few months ago, Matt Gold posted a CFP to this list regarding the 2011 meeting of the Society for Textual Scholarship (which will be at Penn State on March 16-18; see Matt and I (mostly Matt) bounced around some ideas for a potential panel that the Digital Americanists could sponsor. These topics are:

— Digital Texts and the Spatial Turn
— Digital Textuality and Locative Media
— Social Media and the Digital Scholarly Edition

Is anyone interested in being a part of a panel for STS next year? Let me know at if you’re interested and we can pull together an official Digital Americanists panel. I should note that the deadline for proposals is Oct. 31, so I’d need to hear from you by at least the end of September if you’re interested.

Sobering thoughts on the decline of blogging

A recent Newsweek article ( about the decline of blogging has left me feeling melancholic about the sense of infinite possibility that has surrounded the World Wide Web since the mid-90s. Newsweek reports that fewer and fewer people are writing their own blogs, fewer and fewer people are contributing to Wikipedia, and that, increasingly, people are using the Internet to shop, tweet, and check their Facebook accounts. In the Literature and the World Wide Web class that I teach every summer, I expose my students to some of the earliest writers of digital fiction and poetry, and the ethos of these writers is, more or less, that you can do anything online: forms and genres no longer constrain, publishers and editors no longer guard the gates, and information and knowledge want to be free. Almost twenty years into the Internet, though, it seems like that sense of possibility is diminishing. Our experience with the ‘Net is increasingly limited to a number of highly formalized platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.), and the radical future we once imagined is failing to materialize. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe I’ve just let the scare tactics of Newsweek get to me. I will admit to being nostalgic for the mid-90s and the sense of possibility that the Internet represented.

Adrian Johns on digital readers and rare books

From a recent symposium at the Newberry, here’s Johns discussing the study of digitized rare books on his eBook reader. He draws some interesting parallels to the reading practices of early modern coffee houses. (The link to Johns’ piece is at 9:30 am on the schedule for the RLG Symposium: