MLA 2022 Session on “New Methods to Explore Digital Archives”

Modern Language Association convention 2022
SHARP session on “New Methods to Explore Digital Archives”

Online, Friday 7 January 8.30am to 9.45am (EST).

Dr Nora C. Benedict
Assistant Professor of Spanish & Digital Humanities
Department of Romance Languages, University of Georgia

Title: “Buyers versus Borrowers: A Look at the Finances of Shakespeare and Company”

Sylvia Beach is known for her “imperfect record keeping” and often indecipherable business accounts (Fitch 161). Joshua Kotin has even gone so far as to say that it would take “[a] team of forensic accountants…to reconstruct the finances of Shakespeare and Company” (121). That said, data from her lending library cards and logbooks provides key insight into Shakespeare and Company’s cash flow. While this financial information is not always presented in a systematic or exhaustive manner, it can still be used to develop a more nuanced understanding of the inner workings of Beach’s literary enterprise. To that end, in this paper I use the Shakespeare and Company Project datasets to examine the exchange of material goods in Beach’s bookshop. More specifically, my analysis centers on the details surrounding purchases and borrows of books from the events dataset. By limiting the scope of my study to only those records that contain transactional data—whether in the form of membership fees or actual book purchases—I unearth a new array of networks that were central to the daily operations of Shakespeare and Company. As a result, in contrast with the common focus on solely the most notable lending library members (or members of the Lost Generation in general), this financial approach brings to light invisible networks and underexplored figures whose monetary contributions were essential to keeping Beach’s business afloat.

Lawrence Evalyn
PhD candidate in English
University of Toronto

Title: “Random Sampling in the Digital Archive”

One of the lessons of distant reading has been that history contains many millions more books than we can actually read. Computational literary study has learned to be explicit about textual selection, but debates about method in non-computational research are often focused on the methods of analysis or rhetorical persuasion carried out by a piece of writing, rather than the work that precedes writing, namely, discovering and reading texts. As a provocation to our expectations of method, I have taken ten entirely random titles published in England between 1789 and 1799, and close-read them for an analysis of that decade’s contentious print culture. I expected this process to be an illuminating failure, but instead have found that critical interpretation is fully capable of locating important narratives about gender, war, racial difference, and religion, even when examining a prophetic pamphlet about a lunar eclipse alongside a budget report for the East India Company. In this paper I will particularly discuss how a random sample sheds new light on eighteenth-century medical misinformation. This experiment highlights the value of embracing the true scope of what is held in digital archives, and suggests that new methods of exploring digital archives could be excitingly alien.

Dr Jennifer Burek Pierce
Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science, University of Iowa

Title: “Finding Fictional Places on Actual Maps: A Case Study of Methods for Locating Reader Responses in the Digital World”

Matt Kirschenbaum has described the archive as “unbounded” and always in the process of creation, an apt description of digital media that document reading. These media appear on multiple platforms but are otherwise uncollected and unpreserved. Research that analyzes contemporary digital reading must respond to these conditions, particularly as individuals reconsider and remove their accounts from different platforms.

Digital mapping is a distinctive mode of reader response. Google Maps and other mapping technologies allow users to annotate professionally created maps, — a practice known as folk cartography — and readers adapt this technology to their own ends by adding fictional places from favorite books to real digital maps. One example emerges from reader response to Rainbow Rowell’s best-selling Simon Snow trilogy and readers’ decision to put her fictional Watford School of Magicks on Google Maps.1 The hidden school, a parallel to J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts, gained reviews and images that reflected how readers read and envisioned places in Rowell’s narrative. Understanding this practice requires research methods that allow us to locate and study map-based media that document reading.

The Watford example is significant because selective imaginary places have been mapped to the real world. If we search for venues listed in Manguel and Guadalupi’s Dictionary of Imaginary Places on Google Maps, we find that many fictional places do not have digital correlates. This asks that we consider why fictional sites are selected for mapping, how they are realized on technology platforms, and how we locate them.

When fans add fictional places to real maps, their voices are inscribed and stored in ways that augment what Kirschenbaum characterizes as the “heterogeneity of digital data and its embodied inscriptions.”2 Simple searches of maps are not an effective way of finding these sites. Guidebooks, news stories, and social media help highlight these sites of reader response, a kind of triangulation. Crucially, affect, or readers’ feelings for stories, is an important cue to the sort of narratives that might be realized on maps.

Dr Zackary Turpin
Assistant Professor / Director of Graduate Studies
English Department, University of Idaho

Since Walt Whitman’s death, the rediscovery of his lost publications has been a surprisingly regular process, turning up everything from manifestos and travel writings to a men’s wellness guide and a serialized novel. The search for lost Whitman works has also evolved substantially, with major discoveries of the poet’s unknown publications coming increasingly through digital means, thanks to his extensive publication record (signed or unsigned) in more than one hundred known newspapers, as well as his fondness for reusing pen names and initialisms. The rediscovery of lost texts, however, formerly done by way of manuscript and bibliographic evidence alone, is today being augmented with new digital methodologies, which enhance researchers’ efficacy and extend their reach into digital newspaper and manuscript archives. In this presentation, I will enumerate the strengths and weaknesses of some of the newest digital methods aiding the recovery of lost Whitman publications, including byline searches, metadata triangulation, computational stylometry, and idiolectic analysis. Such methods may turn up any number of lost texts, including not one but two Whitman novels that may still be missing, The Sleeptalker (ca. 1850-51) and Proud Antoinette (ca. 1858-60).

1 @rainbowrowell, “What do you do … Penny’s mom is going to be so PISSED” Twitter (15 Sept. 2019); @rainbowrowell, “I guess I should leave a review” Twitter (15 Sept. 2019): nhttps://twitter.com/rainbowrowell/status/1173268813451878401

2 Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms, 6.

CfP: Reading for/and Escape: an online conference

17-18 March 2022
Organised by The History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration, English & Creative Writing, The Open Universityand supported by SHARP (The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing)

The ability of books to mentally transport their readers away from the problems and challenges of everyday life is well established. And yet, reading for escape (rather than self-improvement) has often attracted moral censure for being self-indulgent and wasteful. Despite the plethora of influencers on social media with their lists of ‘10 escapist books to take your mind off the madness‘, in academia, reading for escape (and escapist fiction) has often been derided for being beneath serious intellectual enquiry: the main questions around how, why, where, and when people read for escape and to escape remain critically underexamined. Does reading for escape allow for temporary mental respite and therefore offer a safety valve, a way or normalising profoundly abnormal or traumatic circumstances? Or is reading for escape actually a way of re-engaging with the world around us? This conference will encourage participants to interrogate both reading for escape as an instrumental practice, as well as reading and escape as a series of cultural or personal associations.

Call for Papers, deadline: 7 January 2022

Please see flyer for details.

Contact:
Dr Shafquat Towheed (organiser), Shafquat.Towheed@open.ac.uk
Dr Sally Blackburn-Daniels (co-organiser), Sally.Blackburn-Daniels@open.ac.uk

Crisis or Enlightenment? Developments in the Book Trade, 1650-1750. St Andrews Book Conference, 20-22 June 2019

It has never been questioned that the European Enlightenment was made by books. The intellectual movement which swept across Europe and the Atlantic world from the end of the seventeenth century was fostered, expressed and realised by a sophisticated international market for books. Complex ventures such as Bayle’s Dictionnaire and the ever-expanding number of periodicals indicate that authors and intellectuals were keenly aware of print as a powerful tool. Yet did the book trade reciprocate this enthusiasm? How far did the book market embrace the Enlightenment, and how important were the great intellectual currents of the day to the everyday business of books?

The relationship between the nascent Enlightenment and the organisation of the book trade stands central to this conference. It will seek to expose general developments in European and Atlantic book trade practices from c. 1650-1750, coinciding roughly with the “Early Enlightenment”, in order to refine our understanding of the interplay between intellectual currents and the market for print.

The provisional programme is available here.

Registration is now open here

For further information please contact the organisers, Arthur der Weduwen (adw7@st-andrews.ac.uk) and Ann-Marie Hansen (ann-marie.hansen@univ-rennes2.fr)

The conference has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of the USTC, the School of History of the University of St Andrews and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing.

 

Of Prophets and Saints: Literary Traditions and “convivencia” in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia

The international workshop will be held in Madrid on February 22 and 23, 2018 to explore religious literature that originated under the particular conditions of “convivencia” in the societies of medieval and early modern Iberia.  The participants will employ comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to open new perspectives on how the coexistence of Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities on the Iberian Peninsula is reflected in their respective literary traditions.  The focus will be on works concerning prophets and saints.  The workshop is open to the public, with the exception of a show & tell on Thursday afternoon (*).  But a RSVP will be requested because seating is limited.

Organizers
Benito Rial Costas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Dagmar Anne Riedel (CCHS-CSIC & Columbia University)

Conference secretary
Amy Meverden (Union Theological Seminary in City of New York)

Confirmed participants
Matthew Anderson (Georgetown University)
Fernando Baños (Universidad de Alicante)
Javier Castaño (CCHS-CSIC)
Manuela Ceballos (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Maribel Fierro (CCHS-CSIC)
Alejandro García Sanjuán (Universidad de Huelva)
Araceli González (IMF-CSIC)
Racheli Haliva (Universität Hamburg)
Patrick Henriet (EPHE)
Amir Hussein (Loyola Marymount University)
Fabrizio Lelli (Università del Salento)
Nuria Martínez de Castilla (EPHE)
Lucia Raspe (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main & Jüdisches Museum Berlin)
Patrick Ryan (Fordham University)
Claude Stuzcyinski (Bar Ilan University)
Jesús R. Velasco (Columbia University)
Ruggero Vimercati Sanseverino (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

22 February  2018, Biblioteca Histórica “Marqués de Valdecilla” (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

9.00-11.30      PANEL 1:  Historiographical Challenges of “convivencia”

12.00-14.00    PANEL 2:  Concepts of Sanctity & Prophecy

*16.00-18.00   Show & Tell in the library’s reading room restricted to the participants  not open to the public!

23 February 2018, Residencia de Estudiantes (CSIC)

9.00-13.30      PANEL 3:  Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Examples of Literature about and by Saints and Prophets from Medieval and Early Modern Iberia

15.30-17.30    PANEL 4:  Diachronic Case Study of the Kitāb al-shifāʾ bi-taʿrīf huqūq al-Muṣṭafā (“The book of healing concerning the recognition of the true facts about the chosen one”) by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (1083-1149)

17.45-19.00    PANEL 5:  Concluding Roundtable

Third Colloquium on Argentine Periodicals

National University of La Plata, Buenos Aires, 6-7 December 2017

Directoras: Verónica Delgado, Geraldine Rogers

Comité organizador: Margarita Merbilháa, Verónica Stedile Luna, María de los Ángeles Mascioto, Víctor Gonnet, Iván Suasnábar, Laura Giaccio

Días: 6 y 7 de diciembre de 2017

Lugar: Aula C 201, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, calle 51 entre 124 y 125, Ensenada.

Connecting the Colonies: Empires and Networks in the History of the Book

Call for Papers: The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc (BSANZ) Annual Conference 2017
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
22-24 November 2017

Empires of all kinds – commercial, geo-political, bureaucratic – are defined by their peripheries as well as their centres, by the flows of information that maintain or destabilise their structures of authority and control.

BSANZ, in collaboration with SHARP, the Society for the History of Authorship Reading and Publishing, invites scholars and researchers to consider the printed word, the book, and texts of all kinds, as both mechanism and matter of transmission.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any matters of bibliographical interest, traditional and contemporary. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Commercial empires: the book as a commodity in colonial contexts
  • Across boundaries: print networks across geo-political, commercial or bureaucratic borders
  • The trans-temporal: the afterlife of books and re-imagining of ideas
  • Indigenous cultures, frontier encounters, and the presence or absence of print
  • The stuff of legend: the role of print in constructing colonial and imperial consciousness
  • The book as treasured possession: emotion, ownership and display

Proposals for three-person panel discussions are also welcome.

Some financial assistance towards travel costs may be available for postgraduate students who are presenting papers. Please enquire when submitting your proposal, and include a brief budget outlining your anticipated travel costs.

Proposals – including, a 250-word abstract title of paper, name and institutional affiliation of each author, a brief biography of each author, email address of each author, and 3-5 keywords – should be sent to the convenor, Ian Morrison ian.morrison@education.tas.gov.au.

Presenters must be members of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand. The deadline for submissions is Friday 31 March 2017.

Books and Screens and the Reading Brain

From the earliest clay tablets down to the latest touch screens: reading is an interaction of embodied humans with technology. Over time technological developments have caused numerous changes, and even transformations, in reading habits and the reading culture. The introduction of the rotary press together with industrial paper production in the nineteenth century, for example, made available cheap reading materials for the masses. This was followed by a tremendous growth not just in the number of readers but, more significantly, in the demographics of the reading public. By contrast, in the course of the second half of twentieth century, notably after the introduction of television, many unskilled readers stopped reading books.

Similarly, the current wholesale adoption of digital screens – in educational as well as leisure settings – has begun to affect our reading habits. Screens offer a substitute for reading from paper, but equally offer viewing, gaming and listening opportunities on the same device, not to mention the constant lure of the social media. This increases screen time, offering strong competition for people’s leisure time and reducing time spent on sustained (book) reading. It also raises urgent questions concerning small-and large-scale effects of technology on educational outcomes. There is evidence that screens change the reading experience in terms of memory and (in the case of fiction) transportation. It is also likely that digital texts are simply taken less seriously than texts on paper to begin with. Together with the 24/7 availability of huge amounts of searchable information, these and other changes will no doubt affect how we think about knowledge and information. It promotes just-in-time information gathering rather than memorising of facts, and thinking in terms of smaller fragments of information rather than longer chunks that have already been synthesised into knowledge.

The multidisciplinary EU COST E-READ Action, running between November 2014 and November 2018 has fostered a great deal of empirical research on the effects of the wholesale adoption of screens for reading. The conference ‘Books and screens and the reading brain’ is intended to showcase some of the preliminary findings. What really changes and why? But these findings also need contextualisation, relating them to the history and present practice of reading and the social history of literacy. They invite pondering the next questions. Issues the conference proposes to address include (but are not confined to):

  • Empirical evidence of reading practices, e.g., book industry statistics; library statistics; media use/time-spending surveys;
  • How are we to interpret the outcomes of empirical research and what are their implications for the future of reading and the role of reading in education?
  • Relations between different formats (e.g., hardcover vs softcover; print vs screen) and reading practices;
  • The history and present use of books and digital learning tools in education and their relative effectiveness;
  • The changing status and social position of reading for various purposes, such as learning and leisure;
  • The changing definition of literacy;
  • The changing historiography of reading and development of research instruments.

Conference place

  • Vilnius University (Lithuania).

Conference language

  • English.

Key dates

  • 1 March 2017: Final deadline for proposals for individual papers and/or sessions.
  • 1 May 2017: Notification of acceptance.
  • 29 May 2017: Deadline for registration of participants.
  • 27 September 2017: Opening of the conference.

Submission guideline/Registration

Please submit proposals and register online through the website of the conference (http://www.eread.kf.vu.lt/). Time allocated for papers, 20 minutes. Proposals for individual papers must include a title, an abstract (max. 150 words), and a short biography of the presenter (max. 50 words). Articles based on the papers probably will be published in COST Action E-READ special publication and Vilnius University peer reviewed, open access scholarly journal „Knygotyra“ (Book Science) volumes of the year 2018. Conference fee – 200 Euros. There is a reduced rate of 150 Euros for SHARP members and 100 Euros for PhD students. Conference is free for EU COST E-READ Action members.

Accommodation

  • Participants are responsible for their own accommodation during the conference.

Contact

Correspondence address

  • Institute of Book Science and Documentation Faculty of Communication Vilnius University Saulėtekio av. 9 LT–10222 Vilnius, Lithuania

The Author – Wanted, Dead or Alive

New perspectives on the concept of authorship, 1700-1900
European University Institute (Florence, Italy)
A SHARP Regional Event
5-6 June 2017

Proposals are sought for a workshop aiming to bring together fresh perspectives on the concept of authorship in the period 1700-1900. Especially encouraged are submissions which focus on marginal or ‘accidental’ authors, examine the authorial roles of publishers, printers and other actors, deal critically with the notion of authorship from a broader methodological, historiographical or theoretical angle, or consider non-European and colonial contexts. Possible additional topics include: transnational or comparative aspects of book production and authorship; processes of self-presentation; constraints on authorial agency; legal frameworks such as censorship and copyright; the commercialization and marketing of authors; the uses and meanings of anonymous or pseudonymous publication.

The two-day workshop will take place at the European University Institute in Florence on 5-6 June 2017. Abstracts of 300 words should be sent by 31 January 2017 to authorshipeui@gmail.com, including an updated CV and contact information. Participants will receive notification of acceptance no later than 15 February 2017.

Bursaries for graduate students, sponsored by SHARP, are available to help with travel expenses. Applicants should indicate their interest in these bursaries along with their abstracts.

Any further questions about the event, funding or the application process should be directed to the organizing committee, Matilda Greig (matilda.greig@eui.eu), John-Erik Hansson (john-erik.hansson@eui.eu) and Mikko Toivanen (mikko.toivanen@eui.eu).

Click here to view / download the flyer.

Manuzio in Spain

We take great pleasure in announcing the forthcoming SHARP-sponsored colloquium “Manuzio in Spain”. The Colloquium will be held at the Historical Library of the University Complutense of Madrid, on 10 April 2015. The event has been organised by our very own liaison to the Iberian region, Benito Rial Costas, and by Antonio Carpallo Bautista. Supporting organizations include SHARP; Asociación Española de Bibliografía, Bibliopegia (Univ. Complutense); and Biblioteca Histórica. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In conjunction, the library will also be presenting a micro-exhibition that includes some of its material from the press of Aldus Manuzio. The language of the presentations will be Spanish. For more details, please download the programme or view it below. Those with interests in Aldus Manutius may be interested in the Manutius network page at CERL: Consortium of European Research Libraries.

manuzio_in_spain_programme

Segundo Coloquio sobre Publicaciones Periódicas Argentinas

Centro de Estudios de Teoría y Crítica Literaria (CTCL)
Instituto de Investigaciones en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales (IdIHCS)
Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Nacional de La Plata Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

2 al 4 de diciembre de 2015

Comité científico
Verónica Delgado (Idihcs, UNLP-CONICET)
Geraldine Rogers (CONICET / UNLP)

En diciembre de 2013 realizamos el Primer coloquio sobre publicaciones periódicas argentinas. El encuentro reunió en el rectorado de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata a un grupo de veintitrés investigadores, formados y en formación, de distintas disciplinas y de varias instituciones universitarias y centros de investigación, con trabajos en curso sobre revistas, diarios, suplementos semanales y otras formas de publicación periódica en la Argentina de los dos últimos siglos (XIX y XX). La participación de los expositores a lo largo de esas dos jornadas hizo posible el intercambio de información, la discusión de avances y perspectivas metodológicas.

El libro colectivo Tramas impresas: publicaciones periódicas argentinas (XIX-XX) (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 2014, ISBN 978-950-34-1163-6, en prensa) es producto de aquel encuentro, donde se discutieron las versiones iniciales de cada capítulo.

En diciembre de 2015 llevaremos a cabo el Segundo coloquio sobre publicaciones periódicas argentinas, como continuidad y profundización de la tarea iniciada hace dos años, fundada en la relevancia del estudio de las publicaciones periódicas para la comprensión integral de los procesos culturales. Como señalamos en aquella oportunidad, diversos análisis muestran que no son simples contenedoras de textos e imágenes (fuentes documentales para el estudio de autores o ideas) sino formas específicas de la cultura impresa de la modernidad, cuya complejidad y relevancia las vuelve objetos de estudio en sí mismas. Advertir su densa materialidad equivale a descubrir una dimensión que excede en mucho su consideración como meros vehículos de textos e imágenes. Estudiarlas como bienes simbólicos elaborados colectivamente obliga a pensar la significación que adquirieron los grupos nucleados alrededor de ellas (o que circularon a través de ellas) atendiendo tanto a las prácticas específicas como a sus relaciones con procesos sociales de carácter más general.

El coloquio tiene como objetivo generar un espacio de discusión interdisciplinar sobre revistas, diarios, suplementos semanales y otras formas de publicación periódica en la Argentina de los dos últimos siglos. Se busca crear un ámbito productivo para las investigaciones actuales y futuras, favoreciendo el intercambio de información sobre recursos disponibles o en desarrollo (acervos hemerográficos, medios técnicos), la exposición de avances de investigación y el debate sobre perspectivas metodológicas. El encuentro contribuirá también a relevar cuestiones que podrían abordarse a través de una cooperación más sistemática.

Condiciones de participación y aspectos organizativos

Este coloquio está destinado a un grupo de 30 investigadores, formados y en formación, con líneas de trabajo (sobre publicaciones periódicas argentinas de los siglos XIX y XX) afines a los propósitos de este evento. Todos los participantes serán convocados por el comité científico.

Se trata de una reunión científica no arancelada, concebida como un espacio de intercambio genuino. En función de la muy positiva experiencia del Primer coloquio, buscamos preservar la participación activa en los debates a lo largo de las jornadas.

El encuentro se desarrollará en la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata a lo largo de tres jornadas de trabajo (sin mesas paralelas) los días miércoles 2, jueves 3 y viernes 4 de diciembre de 2015.

Los participantes deberán confirmar su participación antes del 30 de junio de 2015 enviando un título y un resumen del trabajo.

Cada expositor contará con 15 minutos para presentar su ponencia y 15 minutos para la discusión posterior.

La versión final de los trabajos se publicará en 2016 en un libro de acceso abierto, con ISBN y propiedad intelectual registrada, en la web de la Facultad de Humanidades.

Correo para envío de resúmenes: cppa2015@gmail.com