Dene Grigar

May 21st 2021, 3:30 - 5:00 pm UTC


The NEXT: Building a Virtual Repository of Born-Digital Literary Works

What is the most effective strategy for designing a repository of born-digital literary work? What considerations need to be addressed to allow for collected materials to be readily accessible to visitors, even when some may be not be available due to copyright policies or to obsolete platforms?

This presentation responds to these questions from the perspective of The Electronic Literature Organization’s The NEXT, a virtual space –– a multimedial museum, library, and preservation environment created to assure long-term accessibility to the cultural history of experimental writing that developed from the mid 1980s onward, across the globe. The NEXT’s archives contain a wide array of physical and digital media relating to hypertext novels, poetry, and essays; kinetic poetry; animated text; Interactive Fiction; net art; literary games; virtual and augmented reality narratives; interactive novels; mobile narratives, and many other forms, as well as artist’s notes, promotional materials associated with the works, and scholarship about born-digital literary art in the original language as well as in translation.

Topics of this presentation include theoretical and practical information relating to the space’s structure, specifically its extended metadata schema and technological infrastructure; aesthetics that create a cohesive and consistent design across over 3000 spaces that display collection items; functionality relating to the participatory, interactive, and experiential approach to visitor engagement; and logistics for presenting both physical and digital archives together in one repository space.


Prof. Dene Grigar, Ph.D., is Director and Professor of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver whose research focuses on the creation, curation, preservation, and criticism of born-digital literature and net art. She has curated exhibits at the British Computer Society and the Library of Congress and for the Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), among other venues. With Stuart Moulthrop (U of Wisconsin Milwaukee) she developed a methodology for documenting born-digital media. Grigar served as President of the Electronic Literature Organization from 2013-2019 and is now the organization's Digital Preservationist. Since 2003 she has been Associate Editor of Leonardo Reviews. In 2017 She was awarded the Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship by her university, where she also directs the Electronic Literature Lab at WSUV.