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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

A Workbench for Analyzing Electronic Literature

Mark Marino (University of Southern California)

Panel: Past Futures and Future Pasts
Friday, August 7 • 11:00 - 12:30 (Sydneshaugen skole: Auditorium B)

Scholars of electronic literature explore complex multimodal works. However, when they go to report their research, they face the confines of print-style documents that force them to reduce their discussion materials to written descriptions and select still images. ACLS Workbench is a new online tool developed for the analysis of electronic literature and other digital objects. Funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the tool was created by Jeremy Douglass, Jessica Pressman, and Mark Marino in collaboration with Lucas Miller, Craig Dietrich, and Erik Loyer, built upon the ANVC Scalar platform. 

The tool was developed to promote collaborative scholarship of electronic literature, offering several key affordances. First, scholars can upload and organize assets (such as video, images, and source code) for use in arguments. Second, scholars can annotate all of these assets. Third, scholars can weave these assets into threads of scholarly argument. But perhaps the most significant innovation especially for the development of the field is the ability to “clone” books of assets, so that new scholars can clone existing books of resources in order to build on previous scholarship. We hope that these affordances will make scholarly work in electronic literature much less about one-offs or magic shows (arguments where only the author has all the resources) and more about sustained and expanding scholarly work.

In this presentation, I will demo the platform, first described at ELO 2013 in Paris, and demonstrate some of the early explorations of electronic literature that have been conducted on this platform.

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