The New Work of Composing: The Editing Begins

I’ve been invited to assist in the editing of a digital book of digital scholarship on digital composition. Lot’s of digitals, I know. Tentatively, the book’s title is The New Work of Composing, and I’ll be working with Debra Journet and Cheryl Ball. (Both phenomenally smart editors, digital scholars, and theorists of digital scholarship.) A little background first…

cheryl-trauman-12-9-084The Thomas R. Watson Conference is held every other year at the University of Louisville, and tradition holds that the conference director sends out a call to all conference participants for chapters to be included in a collection on the conference theme. Debra approached Cheryl and I (separately) to assist her with an idea she had for this year’s collection. Instead of putting together a print book, Debra wanted to explore the idea of a digital book, since this year’s conference theme was “The New Work of Composing.” We distributed the call for papers at the Watson Conference and again afterwards; we also hosted a brownbag luncheon at the conference to generate some interest and answer questions that potential authors might have about submitting. The response has been great. I didn’t count, but my guess is that well over 50 people showed for the luncheon and we received many, many more submissions than we expected. Debra, Cheryl, and I have just recently begun working through the selection process. (Note the pic from Debra’s dining room table. Sooo much nicer than a conference room on campus or in some smancy hotel. Thanks, Debra!)

As we begin wrestling with decisions about content threads, editorial challenges, and production issues, I want to start thinking through some ideas and questions I have about digital scholarship. I know that people like Cheryl at Kairos, Chris Blair at Computers and Composition Online, and Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe at Computers and Composition (print) are each highly invested in this discussion. I’ll be reading through some of their work over the next several months in order to contextualize some of my own interests. But this is a blog, and I need to get to the point. So for today, I’ll begin to offer some questions I hope to explore as the collection begins to take shape. Here they are…

  • What makes a book a book, both physically and conceptually?
  • How do these definitions change when filtered through the lens of digitality?
  • What are the limitations of print books, and in what ways might digital books respond to some of those limitations?
  • What are some of the most traditional and contemporary issues regarding definitions of “intellectual work” and “scholarship”? More specifically, I ask these questions in light of certain perceptions of the digital scholarship as lacking value within these two frames.

Those are my primary questions for now. I hope that you (readers of this blog!) might engage in this conversation through pingbacks from your own blogs or comments left here on the various posts. If you do mention this conversation somewhere, please don’t hesitate to post a link to you own blog. I’m also hoping that maybe Debra and/or Cheryl might post something here or on their own spaces; I’m not completely comfortable serving as the mouthpiece. More soon…

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The New Work of Composing: The Editing Begins

I’ve been invited to assist in the editing of a digital book of digital scholarship on digital composition. Lot’s of digitals, I know. Tentatively, the book’s title is The New Work of Composing, and I’ll be working with Debra Journet and Cheryl Ball. (Both phenomenally smart editors, digital scholars, and theorists of digital scholarship.) A little background first…

cheryl-trauman-12-9-084The Thomas R. Watson Conference is held every other year at the University of Louisville, and tradition holds that the conference director sends out a call to all conference participants for chapters to be included in a collection on the conference theme. Debra approached Cheryl and I (separately) to assist her with an idea she had for this year’s collection. Instead of putting together a print book, Debra wanted to explore the idea of a digital book, since this year’s conference theme was “The New Work of Composing.” We distributed the call for papers at the Watson Conference and again afterwards; we also hosted a brownbag luncheon at the conference to generate some interest and answer questions that potential authors might have about submitting. The response has been great. I didn’t count, but my guess is that well over 50 people showed for the luncheon and we received many, many more submissions than we expected. Debra, Cheryl, and I have just recently begun working through the selection process. (Note the pic from Debra’s dining room table. Sooo much nicer than a conference room on campus or in some smancy hotel. Thanks, Debra!)

As we begin wrestling with decisions about content threads, editorial challenges, and production issues, I want to start thinking through some ideas and questions I have about digital scholarship. I know that people like Cheryl at Kairos, Chris Blair at Computers and Composition Online, and Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe at Computers and Composition (print) are each highly invested in this discussion. I’ll be reading through some of their work over the next several months in order to contextualize some of my own interests. But this is a blog, and I need to get to the point. So for today, I’ll begin to offer some questions I hope to explore as the collection begins to take shape. Here they are…

  • What makes a book a book, both physically and conceptually?
  • How do these definitions change when filtered through the lens of digitality?
  • What are the limitations of print books, and in what ways might digital books respond to some of those limitations?
  • What are some of the most traditional and contemporary issues regarding definitions of “intellectual work” and “scholarship”? More specifically, I ask these questions in light of certain perceptions of the digital scholarship as lacking value within these two frames.

Those are my primary questions for now. I hope that you (readers of this blog!) might engage in this conversation through pingbacks from your own blogs or comments left here on the various posts. If you do mention this conversation somewhere, please don’t hesitate to post a link to you own blog. I’m also hoping that maybe Debra and/or Cheryl might post something here or on their own spaces; I’m not completely comfortable serving as the mouthpiece. More soon…

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *