Three of our learning objectives—things you ought to be able to do after taking DIG 220—are the following activities:
- Analyze electronic literature through close reading and procedural literacy
- Connect avant-garde aesthetics to mainstream popular culture
- Engage in intellectually valuable discussions about creative expression and technology
As a way to put these goals into practice, your next project involves writing an entry for the Electronic Literature Directory (ELD). The ELD is a project sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) that seeks to provide a critical companion to both historical and contemporary works of digital literature. The ELO defines electronic literature as “works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.”
Each entry to the ELD is a 300-500 word introduction to a specific piece of electronic literature, providing both a contextual and theoretical framework with which to understand the work. The ELD provides a more thorough criteria of what can count as an entry. You should familiarize yourself with these criteria before getting too far. In addition, there is a handbook on writing for the ELD to follow.
As the handbook explains,
Similar to the Let’s Play project, our definition of electronic literature generally means a creative work invested in language, meaning, or storytelling that takes advantage of the unique properties of digital environments. Your selected work must meet this criteria for this project.
The other criteria to keep in mind when choosing a work is that it doesn’t already have an entry in the ELD. The ELD editors have a list of works for which they’d like entries. This is a good place to begin looking for something.
Where else to find works? You could select a non-ELDed work from the unofficial canon of electronic literature: volume one, volume two, or volume three of the Electronic Literature Collection. The ELMCIP Knowledge Base also provide listings of electronic literature works and authors.
A number of digital artists and writers have online portfolios of their work. Consider the work of the following:
- Dreaming Methods (Flash and HTML5 works by Andy Campbell and a rotating cast of collaborators)
- Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (A duo that works out of South Korea)
- Secret Technology (the portal to Jason Nelson’s bizarre world)
- Webyarns (Alan Bigelow’s collection of work)
- Kate Pullinger’s Work (a Canadian living in Britain who often creates serialized works)
Finally, consider interactive fiction, which you can find on sub-Q, Reading Digital Fiction, and on itch.io. Right now, there are a ton of entries in an international interactive fiction competition, most of which are fair game for this project.
- Identify your entry by Friday, October 27
- Draft Entry due on Monday, November 6
- Final Entry due on Monday, November 20 (and also submitted to the ELD by then)
In order to count as Satisfactory, your ELD entry must meet the following criteria:
- Includes details for the following metadata fields: Work Author(s); Year of Publication; Link to the work using the most direct URL possible; Language (English, Japanese, etc.); Software Platform and Version of that Software (what software was used to create the work); Entry Source (the URL of the source code, if available)
- An illustrative screenshot of the work
- The 300-500 word review itself, which should address at least three of out five of the following questions (though not necessarily systematically or in this order) :
- What is the surface meaning? What is the poet/author/artist writing about?
- What are possible deeper or evocative messages of the work?
- What are its sensory and interactive elements? This includes image, sound, motion, interactivity, etc.
- What kind of work is it? Is it a poem, if so, what kind? Is it a “novel,” how so and what genre? Is it a movie? An essay? Is it a code poem? In what ways does it differ from these other genres?
- What are the work’s connections to other works of literature (digital or otherwise), art, or expression?
- The review contains no more than 3 grammatical, spelling, or other “mechanical” errors.
- The review contains no more than 2 minor factual inaccuracies and no major factual inaccuracies.
- The ELD review draft is shared with firstname.lastname@example.org as a Google Doc by midnight on Monday, November 6.
- The final version is shared with email@example.com as a separate Google Doc by midnight, November 20.
- Documentation confirms that the final version is uploaded to the ELD by midnight, November 20.
In order to count as Sophisticated, the ELD entry must meet the following criteria (in addition to meeting or exceeding criteria for “Satisfactory”):
- The review contains no more than 1 grammatical, spelling, or other “mechanical” error.
- The review contains no minor or major factual inaccuracies.
- The review reaches higher levels of originality and synthesis of course material.
- The review uses more effective rhetoric and style to advance its argument.