Jul 21

Literature Unbound: Networks of scholarly communication and knowledge creation in digital literary magazines

Representing Knowledge in the Digital Humanities (Saturday, September 24, 2011)
Conference Schedule

Green, Harriett. English and Digital Humanities Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Title: Literature Unbound: Networks of scholarly communication and knowledge creation in digital literary magazines

Abstract: Online-only, or “born digital” literary magazines and journals are proliferating faster than ever before: Once considered transitory upstarts and publications of last resort, they are now a well-numbered and thriving branch of literary publishing that promotes a rich lode of literature from both emerging and lauded writers. This paper examines a selection of digital literary journals to analyze what the publication records reveal about the role and status of digital literary journals for scholarly communications and evaluative scholarship in creative writing and writing studies. The initial study presented in the paper examines a selection of digital literary journals that have been published on a regular basis for a minimum of the past five years. These titles include Blackbird, The Cortland Review, Mudlark, Painted Bride Quarterly, 2RiverView, and Cerise Press. Collected data analyzed in the paper includes the genres of works published in the journals, formats of the works published, the frequency of publication of the different genres of works, the affiliations of authors, and the structure of the editorial processes in each journal. The author will analyze this data to explore how the dissemination of literary works has been transformed by digital literary publishing: How do digital literary journals exploit their digital platforms to publish works in new types of formats? How does the journal’s publication frequency, distribution of genres, and affiliations of authors begin to reflect their status as a journal for disseminating a scholar’s creative and critical works? As part of this examination, the author will compare the publication frequency of these digital journals to a selection of established print journals over a similar timespan, including Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Sewanee Review, Ploughshares, and Paris Review. The study’s analysis will then explore how these literary magazines’ editorial structures and processes establish themselves as legitimate arbiters and evaluators of creative literary scholarship. Ultimately, this study seeks to open a dialogue on how digital literary magazines are becoming established conduits in the networks of scholarly communication for creative writing and writing studies, and how their innovative publishing methods that exploit their digital media platforms challenge us to re-consider how writing is presented and consumed.

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