Consortium on Electronic Literature


The Electronic Literature Organization hosts the Consortium on Electronic Literature (CELL), an initiative aimed at developing partnerships among organizations, universities, and publishers for the purpose of sharing research in the area of electronic literature. The first generation of CELL partners are the University of Western Sydney (Creative Nation), ELMCIP, Po-ex.net, NT2, Electronic Book Review, University of Siegen (Likumed), Hermeneia, and Archiveit.org/Library of Congress. CELL is coordinated through the ELO’s Electronic Literature Directory (ELD) project.

The members of CELL are among several of the ELO’s partner organizations.

CELL stems from a desire to establish cooperative communication among databases devoted to electronic literature worldwide. These resources are open source and freely accessible to all, but they have not as yet had a method for cross-referencing each other in terms of content, citation structure, bibliographic information, and other forms of metadata. In a word, the goal of CELL is interoperability. It is our shared objective to streamline our system so that any of our readers, while reading or browsing in any of our databases, will be able to access works referenced in other databases. This system will additionally benefit our contributors, so that any entries generated by a contributor in one database will be generated automatically in the others. We are in the process of creating a naming authority and a common tag vocabulary that will enable this process.

As of February 2013, CELL agreed on a common metadata standard for creative works of electronic literature. You can view the standard here.

The project currently receives funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Start-Up Grant. You can view the project proposal narrative here.

The current target for implementing the standard to enable cross-site searching is January 2015. CELL search and other tools will be available on cellproject.net.

Sandy Baldwin, Project Coordinator, Consortium for Electronic Literature
Davin Heckman, Editor, Electronic Literature Directory
Mark Marino, Director of Communications, Electronic Literature Organization
Dene Grigar, President, Electronic Literature Organization
Lisa Swanstrom, Editor, Electronic Literature Directory
Joseph Tabbi, Founding Member, Consortium for Electronic Literature

CELL Interoperability Project Partners:

ebr – Electronic Book Review

ebr logo

Contact: ebr-contact@listserv.wvu.edu
Editor: Joseph Tabbi
Managing Editor: Davin Heckman
Executive Editor: Sandy Baldwin
Senior Editor: Eric Dean Rasmussen
Database and Application Designer: Ewan Branda

Combining elements of graphic design, database programming, and scholarly editing, The Electronic Book Review (ebr) participates in the media developments it critiques. A peer-reviewed journal of critical writing produced and published by the emergent digital literary network, ebr has been in continuous publication since 1994 – as numbered ‘issues’ up to the year 2001. At that time, the database (and its capacity to remix content from the archive and from other sites) allowed editors to update the site continuously. Content is not presented under one fixed category, but can be gathered under various threads depending on how each essay is tagged. These threads, which have included (among others) Image + Narrative, Critical Ecologies, Fictions Present, Writing Under Constraint, and First, Second, and Third Person ( originally co-published by ebr and MIT Press in 2003), are not like “special issues” in print; rather, the work developed by the editors is capable of running years past the launch date, as new editors take over and the field itself develops.

Since 1994, ebr has:

  • received editorial, programming, and financial support from a variety of institutions, including the Alt-X Literary Publishing Network; the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; the California Institute of the Arts; the University of Colorado Department of English; the University of Stavanger Department of Cultural Studies and Languages, and the Electronic Literature Organization.

  • managed two remote locations in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, its original home, and the Center for Literary Computing at West Virginia University, which took over mark-up and database management responsibilities for the journal in 2011.

  • launched its latest version – 5.0 – using the Drupal Content Management System in 2012.

Currently, the ebr has been working on:

  • The First Person thread in ebr, which published the three eventual MIT volumes of that title and includes continued production online of new essays and ripostes to add value to the print volumes and keep the books’ arguments, literary aspects, and positions in circulation

  • Image and Narrative represents a signature ongoing collaboration among ebr editor Joseph Tabbi, new media novelist (and Alabama author) Steve Tomasula, and designer Anne Burdick, to complete the journal’s current reformatting and visual redesign on a Drupal platform.

  • the current “electropoetics” thread, in which Joseph Tabbi and Managing Editor Davin Heckman have gathered over a dozen new essays, each of which was written by one or more scholars who are also creators of literary works in new media

In the future, ebr will:

  • continue to be committed to incorporating links that run “Inbound” (to other essays on the site) and “Outbound” (essays off the site).

  • recognize the consortium of databases will be the critical environment within which ebr’s critique of born-digital writing will operate.


By reviewing born-digital writing on regular basis, ebr will help draw attention to the works that will find their way into the consortium of literary databases here under construction in CELL.

ELMCIP – Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice

University of Bergen, Norway

Director: Scott Rettberg, scott@retts.net

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP) is a collaborative research project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation. ELMCIP involves seven European academic research partners and one non-academic partner who are investigating how creative communities of practitioners form within a transnational and transcultural context in a globalized and distributed communication environment. Focusing on the electronic literature community in Europe as a model of networked creativity and innovation in practice, ELMCIP is intended both to study the formation and interactions of that community and to further electronic literature research and practice in Europe. The University of Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group at the Universtiy of Bergen is the lead partner in the ELMCIP project and has been responsible for the development of the ELMCIP Knowledge Base. It provides cross-referenced, contextualized information about authors, creative works, critical writing, and practices. To date the Knowledge Base includes more than 7.000 cross-referenced records and is frequently used in teaching and research contexts for electronic literature internationally.

Past achievements:

  • Successfully acquired and administered the largest grant awarded in the history of electronic literature for a three-year research project;

  • Produced six international seminars focused on different aspects of electronic literature and one major conference and exhibition across Europe over the course of a three-year period;

  • Published an anthology of European electronic literature online and on USB;

  • Responsible for five special issues of journal;

  • Developed a research resource for electronic literature.

Future goals:

  • Continuing to develop, refine, and edit the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base;

  • Developing macroanalytic and visualization-based research using the Knowledge Base;

  • Producing the 2015 Electronic Literature Organization conference and exhibition.

Hermeneia – The Literary Studies and Digital Technologies Research Group

Hermeneia logo
Hermeneia Research Group – Group Consolidat (Generalitat de Catalonya, since 2009)
Departament de Filologia Romànica Universitat de Barcelona

Isaías Herrero
Ángela Celis
Valentina Vannimartini
Laura Borras, lborrasc@gmail.com

Hermeneia research group was created in 1999. In 2001, Hermeneia received public recognition and its first funding from the Generalitat de Catalunya which in 2009 would recognize Hermeneia as a consolidated research group. It is composed of 24 researchers from European and American universities. One of the most outstanding qualities of this international research group is its ability to establish a rich dialogue with different perspectives on digital literature as a revolutionary and changing phenomenon. Since its inception, Hermeneia has embraced the participation of international researchers in a project that requires the exchange of ideas and dialogue among researchers from different academic fields and with an international perspective. As Hermeneia has advanced in its scholarly development, new renowned researchers key to the areas of research of this group have been incorporated. At the same time, Hermeneia has also expanded its cultural projects, initiatives, educational networks and collaborators, thus making possible a wide range of relationships that result in a polyhedric and multidisciplinary vision of the objects of research.

The Hermeneia Research Group has been one of the pioneers in the field in Spain and has been developing many different activities for the last ten years. Lately it has been:

  • promoting a public debate in Literary Societies on Digital Literature

  • establishing the international Ciutat de Vinaròs to accept creations in languages that already have a tradition of electronic or digital literature and stimulate creative work in other languages

  • studying the aforementioned works in undergraduate and postgraduate courses

  • promoting an interchange between the areas of creation, teaching, and research

Currently the Hermeneia research group is focusing on the Master en Literatura en l’era Digital (Master Programme on Digital Literature), which has been developing since 2007. This Master Programme and other projects have:

  • constructed a community of young researchers who are developing the field by translating works of e-lit

  • created a strong presence in conferences where digital literature appears as the main subject

  • made Catalan translations of works by Rui Torres and Deena Larson

  • translated (completed by Giovanna Di Rosario) Bouchardon’s texts “Déprise” and “Opacité” from French into Italian

In the future Hermeneia will:

  • continue to study the interaction between literature and new media.

  • co-organize in Italy an exhibition of Electronic Literature (Vuotociclo 2013) that will be held in Naples at Palazzo delle Arti (PAN Museum)

  • co-edit the first Italian e-book on electronic literature where several Hermeneia members were invited to write their contributions, done by Giovanna Di Rosario

A section devoted to Italian language will soon be open (Hermeneia website is multilingual), our aim is to be able to create interest in electronic literature also in non-English-speaking countries.

I ♥ E-Poetry

E Poetry image

Editor: Leonardo Flores
University of Puerto Rico: Mayagüez

Bárbara Bordalejo
Luís Cláudio Fajardo
Samira Nadkarni

Advisory Board:
Kathi Inman Berens
Alan Bigelow
Mark Marino

This knowledge base of short-form scholarship on born-digital poetry and poetics is designed as a reference for electronic literature from a poetic perspective. Its over 550 concise cross-referenced entries provide poetic, technological, and theoretical contexts, media-specific analysis, and strategies for readers to approach the work. One of its goals is to broaden the audience base for e-literature, both within and outside of academia. The first phase of this project began on December 19, 2010 with a solo critical writing performance – one e-poem per day, every day – resulting in a continuous run of 500 daily entries, completed on May 2, 2013. During its Summer of Pedagogy (2013), it produced teaching resources, data visualizations, calls for contributions, and presentation materials. It is currently in its second phase (launched on September 2, 2013), a collaborative effort with regular and guest contributors and open calls for contributions.

In the past, the members of I ♥ E-Poetry have:

  • Achieved 1st runner up in “Best Blog, Article or DH Publication” 2012 Digital Humanities Awards
  • Attracted over 15,000 unique visitors in its first 18 months.
  • Adoption in courses, comprehensive exam lists, other critical writing.
  • Integrated with the ELMCIP Knowledge Base.

In the future,  I ♥ E-Poetry plans to:

  • Review another 500 works of electronic literature.
  • Complete its coverage of e-literature publications and exhibitions.
  • Attract international contributor base to expand its coverage of e-literature from around the world.
  • Develop more teaching and research resources.
  • Integrate content with CELL network partners.
  • Publish book & ebook from its content to expand audience.
  • Seek funding to expand its research scope.

LIKUMED – LIteratur KUnst und neue MEDien

University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany

Peter Gendolla, Professor of Literature, Arts and New Media, gendolla@fk615.uni-siegen.de
Jörgen Schäfer, Senior Research Fellow
Patricia Tomaszek, former research assistant (now at University Bergen, Norway)

In the past this projected has organized:

In the future the project plans to:

  • establish new research institute or research group “Literature in Electronic Media” (LEM)

  • gain funding for “Archive of German Electronic Literature”

  • publish a monograph on electronic literature (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich)

  • continue activities in CELL and “DDDL: European Network of Digital Literature”, e.g. “Erasmus Intensive Programme”

In regards to the CELL project, this project will make participate in the Vocabulary project and other initiatives that will arise, and as a result hope to create an initiative for an “Archive of German Electronic Literature.”

NT2 – The Canadian Directory of Electronic Literatures

nt2 logo
Université du Québec à Montréal, with an extension into Concordia University in Montreal in Canada

Director: Bertrand Gervais, gervais.bertrand@uqam.ca
Executive/Management Committee: Bertrand Gervais, Joanne Lalonde, Samuel Archibald, Jean-Francois Chassey
Operations Manager: Daniel Veniot
Coordinator: Isabelle Caron
Project Managers: Sylvain Aube, Robin Varenas, Carl  Aksynczak
Programmer/Integrator: Frederic Beaudet
Assistant Media Coordinator: Sandrine Galand
Research Assistants: Simon Brousseau, Gabriel Gaudette, Joelle Gauthier, Mathieu Mundviller

The Lab acts as both an indicator and a source of information for hypermedia artists and writers. We actively encourage the development and study of emerging forms of literature and art in a number of ways. These include helping artists publish their work, offering courses and seminars to graduate students, publishing research essays on the subject, and also through our involvement in national and international festivals. In all these ways, NT2 promotes hypermedia art and literature in Canada and around the world and plays an active part in the open culture movement.

 Since 2005 the NT2 has been:

  • actively publishing research
  • conducting seminaries
  • creating more than a dozen database Websites for various research projects
  • publishing a French hypermedia works magazine annually

Po-ex.net (Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature)

Po.Ex logo
http://www.po-ex.net (Digital Archive of the PO.EX)
Universidade Fernando Pessoa in Porto, Portugal.

Principal Researcher:
Rui Torres, Associate Professor, rtorres@ufp.edu.pt
From UFP (all PhD Professors):
Pedro Reis
Maria do Carmo Castelo Branco
Elsa Simões
José Manuel Torres
Ana C. Moutinho
Eduardo Paz Barroso

From other Universities (PhDs):
Débora Cristina Santos e Silva (Univ. Estadual de Goiás, Brasil)
Manuel Portela (U. of Coimbra)

The project “Po-ex.net (Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature) results from two projects funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal, and the European Union (programs POCI2010/FEDER): “PO.EX’70-80 – Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature” (reference PTDC/CLE-LLI/098270/2008), and “Portuguese Experimental Poetry – a CD-ROM of Dossiers and Catalogs,” which studied Portuguese literary experimentalism of the 1960s and created a digital archive with the most relevant magazines, catalogs, and publications of that group of poets (http://www.po-ex.net/evaluation). Requests by several agents and recommendations from our consultants have led us to identify the need to extend the reproduction of Portuguese Experimental Poetry into the 1970s and 1980s. This new timeline allowed us to develop the studies and the collections already begun, now including visual and sound poetry, video-poetry, happenings, and cybernetic literature – all of which can be seen as extensions and renovations of literary experimentalism of the previously analyzed period. Our goal was, and will be, to continue considering a connection between concrete poetics and digital poetics. Characterized by its openness and free access to resources, these projects intend to preserve an important literary legacy.

Within the scope of this project, we have also created a Laboratory of Digital Writing, coordinated and supervised by team members. In this Laboratory we expect to offer adequate technical conditions for the development of artistic residences of poets and writers with an interest in multimedia and hypermedia digital platforms. In this way, we hope to foster the development of internal networks of production and digital literary creativity, documenting and later extending the process and its results, namely by means of an online publication platform.

In the past the Po-ex.net has concentrated on creating:

Currently the project is working on the Digital Archive with 4500 items (concrete, visual, digital and sound poems; articles).

In the future the Po-ex.net will focus on:

  • improving the database, its structure and contents, adding more collections and new items
  • participating in CELL’s activities related with interoperability
  • applying to new funding for exhibiting the database; artists’ books collections

The Po-ex.net plans within in the CELL project to “establish cooperative communication among databases devoted to electronic literature worldwide; creating methods for cross-referencing each other in terms of content, citation structure, bibliographic information, and other forms of metadata; interoperability.”