Project Update: Headnotes for the Digital Mitford

We’re hard at work on the Digital Mitford…an update:

Digital Mitford

We’ve not had a blog update from the Digital Mitford in a while, but our project team has been busy! We’ve been working on grant writing and conference talks, not to mention semester and job activities, our energies diverted in many directions. We need a Coding Refresher Hangout, so project-team members, please check your e-mail and write back to let me know what upcoming Saturdays might work for this.

I’m taking a moment now to think aloud about Headnotes for the literary editions we aim to prepare this year for the Digital Mitford. We’re working on coding a test-bed of files, a cross-section of Mitford’s letters, prose fiction, and drama composed in the early 1820s. This moment is especially significant for us in representing Mitford and, effectively, for gluing together the fragments of her reputation. (Victorianists know her for her prose fiction, Our Village, while Romanticists–if they’re aware of…

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New Print Release of Hacking the Academy

Much excitement! See: Last but Not Least: Hacking the Academy–the Print and Ebook Editions.

News of the release of Hacking the Academy as a traditional book seems intriguing and ironic, since this has been the eminent example of the book-that-is-not-a-book, assembled from social media constructions. Can it be reputable in this new bookish edition? It seems a little sad and sorry to say that university press publication gives this text authority and credibility…

…and yet, and yet…consider:

The  print and e-book publication via U. of Michigan gives us a fine example of digital stewardship in action! The famous “Book Crowdsourced in One Week” from 2010 has been transformed after two years into something new, and I haven’t seen what it has become after the heyday of the blogspot has passed. But the transition to a new kind of book format through a university press has something to say about a need to reach a wider audience, a wider audience’s interest, and the transitional life of texts.

What has happened to Hacking the Academy is, of course Backing by the Academy…which was significantly quite the point of Liz Losh in her 2010 piece titled “Will ‘Hacking the Academy’ Be Understood as ‘Backing the Academy'”, duly compiled in the “Criticisms of This Book” section of the original web book. One of Losh’s concerns back in May 2010 (just about exactly two years ago now) was that DH as “hacktivism” and decenteredness and refusal of structure or hierarchy would play right into the hands of budget-cutters and anti-intellectuals—-that universities and professional associations and conferences and publications actually do have something important to offer in fostering the pursuit of quality and lasting research. Does the University of Michigan Press’s new release of a transformed Hacking the Academy derail its high-minded mission? I don’t think so. It expands the reach of the book, and proves its importance within an academy critically contemplating itself.