breaking up is hard to do

sometimes, despite our best intentions, relationships just don’t work out. words, much as i love them, can get in the way, and paragraphs, intended to fit snugly within an argument, well, sometimes, they muddy rather than continue the point. here’s a recent passage I was sad to excise, but, really, in the end, it was time to break it off:

In 2007 Walt Whitman Archive co-editor Ed Folsom argued for the database as the new genre, extolling its ‘rhizomorphous’ capacity.[1] In 2009, his co-editor, Kenneth Price, unpacked this term and others, including edition, project, archive, and thematic research collection, concluding that we need a new term and contending that “we should not strive to fit our work to one or another existing term but instead expect that, in time, terms will alter in meaning – or new ones will come into existence – so as to convey the characteristics of a new type of scholarship.”[2] Siemens et al. have written recently about the ‘social edition,’ summarizing their analysis of “the intersection of social media and the scholarly edition in electronic form.”[3] Designation can and does signify a set of project expectations, and it can and does influence whether we select a platform designed as a digital object repository, a database, a teaching and research tool, or something entirely new, and this decision ultimately shapes public as well as scholarly understanding of and interaction with the front-end deliverable.

  1. Folsom, Ed. 2007. “Database as Genre: The Epic Transformation of Archives.” PMLA, 122: 1571-1579.
  2. Price, Kenneth. 2009. “Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection: What’s in a Name?” Digital Humanities Quarterly, 3:3, accessed 13 Nov. 2012,
  3. Siemens, Ray et al. 2012. “Toward modeling the social edition: An approach to understanding the electronic scholarly edition in the context of new and emerging social media*.” Literary and Linguistic Computing, 27(4): 453.