WSU Vancouver’s Grigar Wins Grant to Preserve Early Digital Literature

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 8:54am -- Anonymous

The U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Electronic Literature Organization a Digital Humanities Start Up Grant for $52,003 for an innovative historical effort involving the first generation of modern digital writing.

The Pathfinders project, proposed by Dene Grigar, associate professor and director of the creative media and digital culture program at Washington State University Vancouver, and Stuart Moulthrop, professor in the department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will build an archive of readings in which the authors and volunteer readers explore the textual possibilities of early digital texts. Readings will be carried out on the early computer systems for which the works were originally intended.

Recorded sessions will be made available through the Electronic Literature Database, and will also form the basis for multimedia presentations developed by the investigators and other colleagues. Using innovative software such as Scalar, a free, open-source authoring and publishing platform, these publications will explore strategies for representing and preserving computer-mediated writing.

Among the works chosen for the project are Judy Malloy's “Uncle Roger: The Blue Notebook” (1986), John McDaid's “Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse” (1994), and Shelley Jackson's “Patchwork Girl” (1995). The recordings and readings will take place at Grigar’s “eLit Lab” at WSU Vancouver, where she has collected 24 vintage Macintoshes for the purpose of experiencing electronic literature on the original computers on which the literature was created and intended to be read. Events at the university and at Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, 1005 Main Street, Vancouver, are planned during the artists’ visits.

Plans are also underway to expand to other key titles from the 1980s and 90s. The project begins in the spring of 2013 and will conclude in late 2015.

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Dene Grigar, Creative Media and Digital Culture, WSU Vancouver, 360-546-9487,

Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601,