Social, Digital, Scholarly Editing

University of Saskatchewan

July 11, 2013 – July 13, 2013


The 'Social, Digital, Scholarly Editing' conference comes at a critical inflection point in the transformation of scholarly editing caused by the two massive shifts of the digital revolution. These shifts are, firstly, the movement of all data into digital form and, secondly, the creation of new modes of collaboration. For the first: in the last decades, the creation of massive amounts of data in digital form has already transformed the basic materials of scholarly editing, while digital tools offer new methods for exploration and publication. For the second: where scholarly editing in the past has been typically the work of a single dedicated scholar, the development of collaborative platforms including social media opens up the possibilities of co-operative work across whole communities.

These changes, so sudden and so far-reaching, in a field which changed little in centuries, affect every aspect of scholarly editing. This conference will explore the theoretical, practical, and social implications of these changes. In terms of theory: how is our sense of what a scholarly edition can and should be affected by these movements? Traditionally, a scholarly edition was created by a single scholar or a tightly-defined group of scholars, and fixed in print. Now it may be the work of many people, who may have no contact at all apart from their shared contribution to the edition, and it may change second by second. Are 'scholarly editions' as we have known them possible, or even desirable? Is the concept of a 'scholarly editor' obsolete, to be replaced by -- what? What might we lose? What might we gain? In terms of practice: we face formidable problems. Copyright and intellectual property law lag decades behind what we can now do. The quantity and diversity of data which a scholarly edition in digital form might include (maps, sound, moving images, and more) mandate the development of new interfaces, even as the transience of the digital threatens to make unusable tomorrow what we make today. How do we make editions which others can change, use and reuse, decompose and recombine with other data, as they need? In terms of social implications: who is to do this work? How are they to be chosen, trained, supported? If anyone and everyone can contribute -- how do we assure the quality of the work done? Traditionally, a few editors perched in the academy have produced texts read by many outside the academy. This model might now be dissolved, as scholars within the academy can work alongside readers everywhere to create fluid and dynamic editions distributed everywhere. Or is it scholarly editing itself which might be dissolved -- leaving us, with what?

The conference program will be built around three groups of presenters: senior textual scholars, senior digital humanists, including the heads of seven major international digital humanities centers and key representatives of six others; and international leaders in the development and use of online community knowledge tools, ranging from biodiversity data to manuscript transcription. The program will offer a mix of formal academic addresses, panels focussing on contentious issues, demonstrations of leading-edge solutions, informal poster and hands-on sessions. A one-day workshop offering practical experience in on-line collaborative editing systems will precede the conference. The conference timing, immediately before the major annual Digital Humanities conference in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 16-19 2013, is designed to enable participants to attend both conferences. Confirmed participants are Barbara Bordalejo, Susan Brown,Ben Brumfield, Gabriel Egan, Paul Eggert, Paul Flemons, Alex Gil, James Ginther, Tuomas Heikkilä, Fotis Jannidis, Laura Mandell, Murray McGillivray, Allison Muri, Brent Nelson, Catherine Nygren,Dan O'Donnell, Roger Osbourne, Wendy Phillips-Rodriguez, Elena Pierazzo, Ken Price, Peter Robinson, Geoffrey Rockwell, Peter Shillingsburg, Ray Siemens, Michael Eberle-Sinatra, Joshua Sosin, Melissa Terras, Edward Vanhoutte, and Joris van Zundert (to be confirmed: Hans Gabler and Jerome McGann).

In addition to the invited presenters, we invite proposals for papers from anyone interested in the conference themes.  We particularly welcome papers from people involved in the GO::DH community. There is funding set aside for students enrolled in graduate or doctoral programs who wish to attend, and funding may also be available on application (as bursaries, or support up to the full cost of travel and conference attendance) for other proposers: see the Call for Proposals Page. We will give preference in allocating funding to proposers from circumstances where support is rarely or never available.


Conference Information