Conference 2003



Preservation, Archiving and Dissemination
of Electronic Literature

A conference co-sponsored by
Electronic Literature Organization and the Digital Cultures Project

April 3-4, 2003
University of California, Santa Barbara
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, 6020 HSSB


At the 2002 Electronic Literature Online conference in Los Angeles, Katherine Hayles' keynote address warned that the incessant development of the software and hardware is rendering old computer based works obsolete and inaccessible. Although obsolescence is a problem for every form of cultural production, the reliance of computer-based creations upon a constantly evolving delicate matrix of software and hardware, makes preserving and archiving digital work especially challenging. Out of last Spring's discussions emerged the "PAD" initiative, and acronym for "preservation, archiving, and dissemination." PAD is an effort to develop a software standard (and perhaps eventually software products) that would give writers and artists some influence over the future development of the hardware/software interface, especially with regard to three practical goals of preservation, archiving, and dissemination.

In the discussions of the last year, apparently available and relatively simple solutions--for example, preserving digital works by creating emulators that allow us to migrate them to new platforms--end up becoming complex, and implicated in many other issues. Here are a few: the value of earlier works (are they worth saving?); cost (at what expense?); technical feasibility (how can it be done?); ownership of works and software platforms (what sort of open-ness and access is necessary for this project). Such a project requires constant attention to creators and users (who benefits, and it what ways?).

The April conference has two primary purposes: to address the general issues surrounding an attempt to preserve, archive and disseminate works created on the computer, and, in dialogical spirit, by offering a public account of the PAD project, we hope learn from those participating in the conference.

For information contact Professor William Warner (English, UCSB) at warner@english.ucsb.edu

(download printable version)

Thursday, April 3

9:00 - 9:15:
Welcome and Introductory Comments
Dean David Marshall (Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, English, UCSB) (audio)
introduced by Bill Warner (word document)

Bill Warner
(English, UCSB) (audio)

Jeff Ballowe (co-founder, Electronic Literature Organization) (audio) (word document)

9:15 - 10:25
"The Opposite of Property"
Keynote Speaker: James Boyle
(Duke University Law School) (audio) (questions on audio)
introduced by Bill Warner (word document)

10:30 - 12:00
Archiving Digital Work: Defining the Present

Howard Besser (Professor of Education & Information Studies on leave from UCLA, and Director of the Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts) (audio)

Alan Divack (Archivist for the Ford Foundation) (audio)

Presentation of Endangered Works:
Marjorie Luesebrink (M.D. Coverley, Hypermedia author (Califia) and President, ELO Board of Directors) (audio)

(questions for the panel on audio)

12: 00- 1:30

1:30 - 2:45
Library of Congress to the Rescue
(audio) (questions on audio) (powerpoint presentation)
Keynote Speaker: Stewart Brand (Co-founder, Global Business Network; president, The Long Now Foundation)
introduced by Alan Liu

2:45 - 4:15
Other Digital Preservation and Archiving Initiatives: Panel
Chair, Jeff Ballowe (co-founder, Electronic Literature Organization)

Howard Besser (Professor of Education & Information Studies on leave from UCLA, and Director of the Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts) (audio)

Julia Flanders (Director,Women Writers Project, Brown University) "Tilting at Windmills: The Use of Standards in the Future of Electronic Literature" (audio) (word document)

Merrilee Proffitt (Program Officer, RLG) "Introduction to METS, the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard" (audio) (powerpoint presentation)

Joseph Tabbi (English, University of Illinois, Chicago) "On the Dissemination of Content Once It Has Been Preserved and Archived: The electronic book review as a Case Study" (audio) (word document)

(questions for the panel on audio)

4:30 - 5:15
The New Media Reader (MIT, 2003): Overview of Migration Strategies
introduced by Bill Warner and Matt Kirschenbaum
(introduction on audio) (audio) (questions on audio)
Noah Wardrip-Fruin (Creative Writing Fellow Brown University)
Nick Montfort (Ph.D. Student, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania)

5:15 - 6:00
Refreshments, hors d'oeuvres

6:00 - 7:30
Good Vibrations: Writers, Artists, the Works
Marjorie Luesebrink (M.D. Coverley; Hypermedia author (Califia) and President, ELO Board of Directors)
Scott Rettberg (Assistant Professor of New Media Studies, Literature Program, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)

Thomas Swiss (English and Rhetoric of Inquiry, University of Iowa; Editor of The Iowa Review Web), Rediscovers selections from The Iowa Review Web (audio)

Lisa Jevbratt (Studio Arts & Media Arts and Technology, UCSB)., Demos Softbot 1:1 (audio)

Stephanie Strickland (Print and new media poet), reveals "V:Vniverse" (audio) (word document) (image one) (image two)

George Legrady (Studio Arts & Media Arts and Technology, UCSB), Premieres Melanie Wein's (Media Design, BA Ravensburg) "The Fleetingness of Bits" (audio)

Jason Nelson (Author of Flash narratives), A Flash Reading (audio)

Friday, April 4

Coffee and bagels

9:00 -10:00
Chair, Bill Warner (English, UCSB)

Matt Kirschenbaum (English, University of Maryland) "The Anatomy of a Digital Object" (audio) (powerpoint presentation)

Geof Bowker (Communications, UC San Diego) "Remembrance, Commemoration, Oversight and Oblivion: Collective Cultural Archives over the Millennia" (audio) (word document)

(questions for the panel on audio)

10:00 - 11:30
The Technology of E-Literature Preservation: The Shape of a Solution
Chair, Alan Liu (English, UC Santa Barbara, director of Voice of the Shuttle and Transcriptions Project, author of The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and Information Culture) PAD Technology Plan Overview: Issues and Approaches (audio)

Nick Montfort (E-literature writer and scholar, technology analyst and journalist, RA at MIT Media Lab; co-editor of The New Media Reader., Ph.D. Student, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania), "Further Reading: Interpreters & Emulators for Electronic Literature." (audio)

David Durand (SGML, XML, versioning, collaborative applications, Ph.D.from Brown University Computer Science Department.) (audio) and Liam Quin (SGML, XML; editor of journal Markup Languages: Theory & Practice; author of three books on XML; previously developer for SoftQuad, Inc. Currently W3C Staff Contact for the XML Core activity) "X-Literature: Building XML Representations of E-Literature" (audio) (slides on pdf)

Noah Wardrip-Fruin (E-literature writer and scholar, co-editor of The New Media Reader and Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Current a faculty memmer at the U. Baltimore's School of Information Arts and Technologies and a Creative Writing Fellow at Brown University) (audio) (powerpoint presentation), Robert Kendall (audio) (powerpoint presentation) and Jean-Hugues Réty (Adaptive hypertext systems; collaborator with Robert Kendall on Connection Muse. Assistant professor at Paris 8 University) "X-Literature Solutions for Archiving, Studying, and Authoring Electronic Literature"

(questions for the panel on audio)

11:45 - 1:00
Copyright/ Open Source Roundtable
Chair, Bill Warner (English, UCSB), Introduction (word document)

Rob Swigart (English., San Jose State University) (word document)

Harvey Harrison, (President Liquid Knowledge, Inc.; lecturer Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA.)

Geert Lovink

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