Report on NEH Workshop “Supporting Digital Scholarly Editions”

April 4th, 2008 by Dot Porter

The official report on the NEH Workshop “Supporting Digital Scholarly Editions”, held on January 14, has been released and is available in PDF form:

http://www.virginiafoundation.org/NEH%20Workshop%20Report%20FINAL-3.pdf

Attendees included representatives from funding agencies and university presses, historians, just one or two literary scholars, one medievalist, and no classicists. It appears that much of the discussion focused on creating a service provider for scholarly editions, something to work between scholars and university presses to turn scholarship into digital publications.

I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, I know a lot of “traditional scholars” who find the idea of digital publication a little scary, just the idea of having to learn the technology. So it could be a good way to bring digital publication into the mainstream. But on the other hand, this kind of model could be stifling for creativity. One of the exciting things about digital projects is that, at this time, although there are standards there is no single model to follow for publication. There’s a lot of room for experimentation. It’s certainly not either/or – those of us doing more cutting-edge work will continue to do it whether there are mainstream service providers at university presses or not. But it’s interesting that this is being discussed.

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