Announcing CELL Project Site Launch

CELL Project Logo

The Search for Electronic Literature Leads to the CELL Project

For Immediate Release
— Morgantown, WV

Announcing Cell Project, a new multi-database search for information on electronic literature, created by the Electronic Literature Organization in collaboration with 10 research centers around the world.

The Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL) is an open access, non-commercial resource offering centralized access to literary databases, archives, and institutional programs in the literary arts and scholarship, with a focus on electronic literature.

The purpose of CELL is to better identify works as literary and make the evolving field of born (and genetically) digital writing visible on a global scale. The project will develop communities and best practices in research in born digital literature.

According to Project Leader Sandy Baldwin, “For the first time, users can get a view of the entire field and ask critical research questions. As the database evolves, it will become the go-to site for discoveries in electronic literature. We will research unrecognized aspects of the field, illuminate global issues, and map the ‘literariness’ of electronic literature.”

Although the search engine is Open Access, the content of the databases is edited according to scholarly standards.  That editorial oversight will make the CELL site a valuable resource for students of electronic literature.

More than an “e-lit Google,” CELL offers a “tool for curated, international research into digital literature,” according to Baldwin.

The consortium will draw upon the following data centers:

  • The ELO’s Electronic Literature Directory (ELD);
  •  electronic book review (ebr), one of the oldest all-online peer-reviewed journals
  •  Digital Language Arts Collection, Brown University Digital Repository
  •  ADELTA (Australian Directory for Electronic Literature and Text-based Art), University of Western Sydney (Australia)
  • Hypermedia, Art, and Literature Directory, Laboratoire NT2, Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada)
  • The ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base, University of Bergen (Norway)
  • ADEL – Archive of German Electronic Literature, University of Siegen (Germany)
  • PO.EX – Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Poetry, University Fernando Pessoa (Portugal)
  • Hermeneia, Literary Studies and Digital Technologies Research Group, Universitat de Barcelona (Spain); CELL White Paper DRAFT 7
  • I ♥ E-Poetry, University of Puerto Rico: Mayagüez (Puerto Rico)

The project was sponsored by these partners along with the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The management of the project is coordinated by the Center for Literary Computing at West Virginia University, and the technical development takes place at NT2 Lab in Montreal.

By the ELO 2015 Conference in Bergen, up to six sites will be connected to the search.

For more information, contact Sandy Baldwin sbaldwin66 at gmail

Announcing a New Platform for Collaborative Scholarship of E-lit

Announcing ACLS Workbench: A new site for collaborative research.

ACLS Workbench Tour from Mark Marino on Vimeo.

ACLS Workbench is a new platform for collaborative research, which enables scholars to create, join, or clone online arguments enhanced with multimedia content.

ACLS Workbench has two novel features: the “join” feature and the “clone” feature. The join features allows new collaborators to apply to join your research project. The clone feature allows scholars to copy entire books so they can build their own interpretations.

ACLS Workbench is built on the ANVC Scalar platform, which offers special affordances for presenting multimedia content and custom hyperlinked paths through material. Combined with features to annotate video and code along with Workbench’s affordances, this new platform offers a powerful tool for collaboration. (Video introduction of the site: )

As a demonstration of Workbench, we are launching Reading Project, the online companion to our recent book: Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit just published by University of Iowa Press.

The book offers a collaborative investigation of one work of digital literature, modeling an argument for more intensive collaboration in the digital humanities by combining scholars who draw their methodologies from visual analytics, Critical Code Studies, media archaeology and others. The ACLS Workbench site presents our arguments and findings in an online multimedia format. Crucially, future scholars may clone our online book and use its assets to build new arguments.

The book argues: “Collaboration can produce understandings that are greater than the sum of their parts. Conversely, collaboration can foster new ways of understanding what we do as critics, scholars, and readers. Such reflection and innovation is vital not only to literary criticism but also to the future of the humanities more generally” (137). Workbench was designed to present and promote these collaborations.

ACLS Workbench was designed by Jessica Pressman (San Diego State U), Mark C Marino (USC), and Jeremy Douglass (UCSB) as part of an ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship in collaboration with Lucas Miller, Craig Dietrich, and Erik Loyer. The platform is online and freely available. The demonstration book Reading Project was developed with the kind permission of William Poundstone and the assistance of Elizabeth Shayne.

Contact Us:

Jessica Pressman, jessicapressman0 at gmail
Mark Marino, markcmarino at gmail
Jeremy Douglass, jeremydouglass at gmail

For more on Scalar, see:

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Pathfinders Book Online!


ELO President Dene Grigar and Board Member Stuart Moulthrop are releasing a new free online book entitled Pathfinders, which features resources about foundational works of early electronic literature from some of the biggest names in the field.  This is a vast resource for anyone wishing to study electronic literature or include it in their courses.  Below is their full announcement.

In the decade between 1985 and 1995, as personal computers grew familiar and the Internet became a presence in everyday life, assumptions about reading, writing, and text began to change. Digital tools allowed increasingly powerful combinations of media. The ancestors of blogs and social networks appeared.  Experimental writers began to use tools like hypertext as the basis for fiction and poetry.

In the face of all these changes, the idea of the book remained essential in understanding the new nature of writing.  Yet the book could no longer be limited to traditional forms.  To understand the early history of electronic writing we would need a new kind of book; but what would it be like?  How would it capture the interactivity the effort now required of readers? How would it reflect the graphics, movement, and sound that that had become important narrative strategies? How would such a reinvented book make accessible works meant to run on an Apple IIe or early Macintosh computer, in these days of tablets and smart phones?

Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature, by Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop, answers these questions in the form of a multimedia, open-source web-book created for a wide array of digital devices. It features 173 screens of content, 53,857 words of text, 104 videos, 203 color photos, and various audio files, providing readers with access to four important computer-based works of literature that were among the first to be sold commercially in the U.S. — but are now seriously threatened by obsolescence.

The book, whose production was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be released June 1, 2015 and made available free of charge through the open-source platform Scalar, created by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at the University of Southern California.

Using video and still photography, Pathfinders captures demonstrations of four groundbreaking works, performed by their authors on vintage systems.  Readers accessing the book will watch Judy Malloy walk through her database novel Uncle Roger, originally published on the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link and considered by some the first example of social-media literature.  They will also see a tour of Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse, a revolutionary hypermedia novel-in-a-box by John McDaid, and a demonstration of two classics in the early hypertext system Storyspace, Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl and William Bly’s We Descend.  Extensive interviews with all four authors add an important dimension of oral history to the project.

All four are acclaimed works of fiction representing the cultural impact of digital technologies that resonate today in experimental writing, video games, cinema, and virtual reality experiences.

Pathfinders was created by Dene Grigar, Professor and Director of the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver, and Stuart Moulthrop, Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Demonstrations and research took place in the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL), a working collection of electronic literature and vintage computers dating from1983 assembled and directed by Grigar. The designer of the Pathfinders book is Will Luers, faculty member in the CMDC Program. Madeleine Brookman, a junior in the CMDC Program, served as the Research Assistant to the project.

The formal book launch party is scheduled for Friday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Nouspace-Angst Gallery, located at 1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA. The works of these authors will be displayed on vintage computers and copies of the book will be on view to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Dene Grigar, dgrigar at


The book will be available at