The Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination (PAD) Project
The Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination (PAD) project seeks to
identify threatened and endangered electronic literature and to maintain
accessibility, encourage stability, and ensure availability of electronic
works for readers, institutions, and scholars.
Background of PAD: At the Electronic Literature Organization Symposium, The
State of the Arts, held in April, 2002, at UCLA, writers, scholars, and
teachers agreed upon a pressing need: a means to retrieve and preserve
works of electronic literature from the ravages of technological "progress"
that leave the works inoperable in new technical environments, and thus
inaccessible. While these pioneering works promise to form a major part of
the future of our literary heritage, their constant fading into
technological obsolescence frustrates the formation of the critical and
scholarly perspective required for that to happen. PAD envisions to
preserving these works in forms that render them available to readers,
supportable as part of museum collections, and suitable for scholarly
One important effort in the planning and early research stages of PAD was to
make sure we worked closely with other text and media archiving groups. We‚
ve conducted a survey of the broad array of digital preservation and
archiving that work that is underway around the world, and we are convinced
that much of what is being done can be effectively applied to the job of
preserving electronic literature. Unfortunately, electronic literature is
not yet the focus of any major preservation effort, and many important
aspects of preserving this type of work - such as how to maintain
conditional sequencing of files delivered to the reader across different
technical platforms - is not being addressed adequately. PAD proposes to
fill this gap by adopting technologies and standards already in development
and extending them in ways that will allow works of electronic literature
(and other kinds of digital art objects) to have a long lifespan in a form
as close to the original as possible and as useful material for scholarship.
Currently, PAD is in the process of seeking seed funding to make our
operational plan more detailed and to conduct two proof-of-concept
projects -- one interpreter and one aspect of the e(X)Literature Metadata
Kit. See PAD Progress section.