New Approaches to Literary Archives



The past decade has seen the rise of hybrid and born-digital literary collections as prominent authors from the latter 20th century have (either in person or through their estates) donated their papers to libraries and other collecting institutions. Over that period the archival community has worked to develop the necessary preservation methods and access systems to ensure the long-term preservation of these born-digital materials, while also making them available to researchers. Like the archivists tasked with processing these born-digital materials, the scholar of latter 20th and early 21st century literature must also develop new skills and expertise. In this course participants will develop those skills and digital fluencies necessary to take full advantage of existing and future hybrid literary collections. Participants will learn fundamentals of digital objects including how data is stored on a variety of legacy and contemporary media, how to access file-level metadata such as file creation and modification times, and how to work with a variety of file systems. We will also carefully explore examples of born-digital and hybrid literary collections such as the Salman Rushdie collection at Emory University, the John Updike collection at Harvard University, and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez collection at the Harry Ransom Center. Instruction will be a mixture of lecture, discussion, and hands-on practical activities. A portion of the course will be conducted in partnership with the Harry Ransom Center where participants will have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a real-world research environment.


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