Research Showcase Gallery (Poster 2235)

Preserving Electronic Literature


Frequent advances in digital technology cause born-digital artifacts to become inaccessible. As scholars become increasingly aware of this phenomenon, it is vital for researchers to come up with methodologies for digital preservation to ensure future access to critical works. In doing so, we preserve both the conventions and cultural attitudes towards digital technology for study and enjoyment.

Our team utilizes various methodologies depending on the project. For instance, born-digital works that were made accessible on the web can be easily reconstituted to function in modern browsers (either through emulation or restoration with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript). However, pieces created on diminished hardware (such as floppy disks) may call for video recordings of a participant's performance of the work, a process we call a Traversal.

We have made a number of findings throughout our research. These include standards on naming conventions and file structures and learning to work with the WayBack Machine to retrieve dark sites. We have also found that open-access technologies ensure longevity and stability over proprietary software programs. Additionally, working with local files is more effective than trying to access files through external links. Scholarly commentary is also necessary for resolving discrepancies regarding born-digital work.

The result of our research is the preservation of born-digital interactive literature so that it continues to be accessible by future audiences. The methodologies we utilize allow us to preserve both the digital and cultural characteristics. Preserving these endangered resources ensures continued study and access to born-digital works.

About the Presenters

photo of kathleen zoller

Kathleen Zoller

Kathleen Zoller is an Undergraduate Researcher working in the Electronic Literature Lab who is pursuing a B.A. in Digital Technology and Culture. Her focus is digital animation, and she gained much experience working with multimedia book development on the Scalar platform when she produced The Progressive Dinner Party Restored. She has also gained expertise with Rhizome’s Webrecorder, and has gained coding experience from restoring access to Annie Grosshans’ The World Is Not Done Yet.

photo of mariah gwin

Mariah Gwin

Mariah Gwin is a graduating senior in the Creative Media and Digital Culture program specializing in game design & development. She served as Team Leader for the Clark County Historical Museum’s website. As an Undergraduate Researcher in the Electronic Literature Lab she reconstituted the trAce Online Writing Centre for the Electronic Literature Repository.

photo of moneca roath

Moneca Roath

Moneca Roath is a graduating senior in the Creative Media & Digital Culture program who is specializing in video production and editing. She was also an Undergraduate Researcher in the Electronic Literature Lab, where she produced videos for the many Traversals the lab hosted and created trailers and other videos for special lab projects, like 'afterflash'.