The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) is pleased to announce two new additions to its series of publications. N. Katherine Hayles’s primer, “Electronic Literature: What Is It?” and Joseph Tabbi’s “Setting a Direction for the Directory: Toward a Semantic Literary Web” are now available on the Electronic Literature Organization’s website.
N. Katherine Hayles’s “Electronic Literature: What Is It?” establishes a foundation for understanding e-lit in its various forms and differentiates creative e-lit from other types of digital materials. This primer serves the twin purposes of reaching general readers and serving students and institutional audiences by providing descriptions of major characteristics of electronic literature and reflections on the nature of the field. This piece will also appear as the introductory chapter of Hayles’s book Electronic Literature: Playing, Interpreting, and Teaching (coming from Notre Dame Press in fall 2007). The book will also include the CD-ROM of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume One — a compendium of 60 digital works of poetry and prose, published by the ELO in October 2006.
Joseph Tabbi’s “Setting a Direction for the Directory: Toward a Semantic Literary Web” outlines and analyzes the critical issues relating to the description and classification of e-lit. Tabbi describes an approach that will allow the ELO Directory and other digital resources to be more useful, maintainable, transparent, and integrated with evolving technologies. The work organizes the terms of the problem into a call for an overall strategy of editorial and community-driven discourse about e-lit that will also be dependent on metadata solutions that are convergent with those described and implemented in other ELO publications.
N. Katherine Hayles is the John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature at UCLA. She writes and lectures extensively on electronic textuality and digital arts. Her works include My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts (University of Chicago Press, 2005), Writing Machines (MIT Press, 2002), How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics (University of Chicago Press, 1999), Chaos and Order: Complex Dynamics in Literature and Science (University of Chicago Press, 1991), and Chaos Bound: Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and Science (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).
Joseph Tabbi is the author of Cognitive Fictions (Minnesota 2002) and Postmodern Sublime (Cornell 1995), books that examine the effects of new technologies on contemporary American fiction. He edits the electronic book review, and has edited and introduced William Gaddis’s last fiction and collected non-fiction (Viking/Penguin). His essay, “The Processual Page,” appears in the Journal of New Media and Culture. An essay-narrative, titled “Overwriting,” an interview, and a review of Tabbi’s recent work appears in The Iowa Review Web, available online. He is a director of the Electronic Text + Textiles project in Riga, Latvia, and professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tabbi was recently elected president of the Electronic Literature Organization.
These new essays are companion pieces to the first two publications on electronic literature issued by the ELO. “Acid Free Bits” is an outcome of the ELO’s PAD (Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination) project. The report was written by Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin and published in June 2004 in print and on the ELO website. “Born-Again Bits” is a result of the PAD (Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination) project. The report, by Alan Liu, David Durand, Nick Montfort, Merrilee Proffitt, Liam R. E. Quin, Jean-Hugues Réty, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, was published online in July 2005.
The Electronic Literature Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. Since its formation, the ELO has worked to assist writers and publishers in bringing their literary works to a wider, global readership and to provide them with the infrastructure necessary to reach one another. The ELO continues to promote reading, writing, teaching, and scholarship concerning works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.