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Preliminary Impact Report, Electronic Literature Exhibit MLA 2012, January 5-8, 2012

Preliminary Impact Report, Electronic Literature Exhibit MLA 2012, January 5-8, 2012



This report is intended to provide stakeholders involved in the Electronic Literature Exhibit, held in Seattle, WA from January 5th to 8th at the 2012 Modern Languages Association Convention with information concerning the Exhibit’s impact.  Impact, from our perspective, is tied to the overarching mission of the Exhibit, which we have articulated is “to expand scholarship and creative output in the area of Electronic Literature by introducing Humanities scholars to the art form.”  In order to achieve this mission, we identified, at the outset of the development of the Exhibit, four goals.  These were to:

  • Introduce scholars to a broad cross-section of born digital literary writing, both historic and current
  • Provide scholarship and resources to scholars for the purpose of further study of Electronic Literature
  • Encourage those interested in the creative arts to produce Electronic Literature
  • Promote Electronic Literature in a manner that may encourage younger generations to engage with reading literary works


All activities relating to the Exhibit––from the inclusion of five undergraduate docents who assisted visitors at the Exhibit, to the “Readings and Performances” event on Friday night at the Hugo House, to the four-platform social media marketing plan and archival work undertaken by undergraduates in the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, to inclusion of undergraduate works of Electronic Literature in the Exhibit, to the ongoing web archive of the site––were developed to help us meet these goals. 

Assessment of success in attaining these goals examines information in four areas: 

1. References to the exhibit by humanities scholars
2. Inclusion of the web archive in scholarly databases
3. New scholarship and creative output generating from it
4. Physical and virtual engagement of visitors with the Exhibit and its online archive

We view this report as “preliminary” because print-based data is not yet available for inclusion. Thus, this phase of our report includes data stemming from electronic publications and media; they serve as the first step in the process of analysis and evaluation of the success of the Exhibit.  For the most part, the data covers a short period of time surrounding the Exhibit, from mid-November  2011 when the web archive was launched to mid-January 2012 after the closing of the Exhibit.


1. References to the Exhibit by Humanities Scholars

Ball, Cheryl. “Review of Profession 2011 section on ‘Evaluating Digital Scholarship.’"  Kairos  16.2. Spring 2012. Retrieved:  28 Jan. 2012.

“Editor’s Choice:  Round Up of AHA and MLA Conferences.”  Digital Humanities Now . 9 Jan. 2012. Retrieved: 28 Jan. 2012.

Jackson, Korey.  “Once More with Feeling:  How MLA Found Its Heart.” HASTAC  16 Jan. 2012. Retrieved:  28 Jan. 2012. Reprinted in Mpublishing:  U of Michigan Library. 16 Jan. 2012. Retrieved:  28 Jan. 2012.

Malloy, Judy.  “MLA 2012 to Feature Exhibition of Electronic Literature.”  Authoring Software. 28 Dec. 2011. Retrieved: 28 Jan. 2012.

Taylor, Laurie, N., “E-Lit Exhibit at MLA; Exhibits, Peer Review, and What Counts.” 2 Jan. 2012.  Retrieved:  28 Jan. 2012.


2. Inclusion of the Web Archive in Scholarly Databases

Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP) Knowledge Base.

Electronic Literature Organization Directory .

3. New Scholarship and Creative Output Generating from the Exhibit

Berens, Kathi Inman.  "Haptic Play as Narrative in Mobile Electronic Literature." Forthcoming in ebr: electronic book review.  Spring 2012.

Grigar, Dene. Born Digital Literature: Understanding Literary Works for the Electronic Medium.  Book Proposal. Submitted to The MIT Press.

Grigar, Dene, Lori Emerson, and Kathi Inman Berens.  “Curating Electronic Literature.”  Forthcoming in Rhizomes.  Spring 2012.

4. Physical and Virtual Engagement of Visitors with the Exhibit and Its Online Archive

Electronic Literature Exhibit at the MLA 2012. 
Visits: 503; attendance at Readings and Performances event held at The Hugo House on Friday, January 6, 2012:  107.

Electronic Literature (Main Archival Site)
1673 total visits from 10 Nov. 2011 to 18 Jan. 2012; 1733 total visits as of 27 Jan. 2012
Visitors to the site came from:  the US, Sweden, Canada, Spain, Norway, the UK, Italy, Albania, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Puerto Rico, France, Germany, India, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Austria, Philippines, Colombia, and Algeria

Kathi Inman Berens’ Curatorial Statement
539 total visits from 6 Dec. to 18 Jan. 2012

Lori Emerson’s Curatorial Statement
388 total visits from 5 Dec. 2011 to18 Jan. 2012

“Electronic Literature Readings and Performances” Poster
440 total visits from 31 Dec. 2011 to 28 Jan. 2012.

Storify archive of the event
128 from 10 Jan. 2012 to 28 Jan. 2012

Facebook and Mini-Site
145 Total Likes; 43,444 “Friends of Fans” from12/28/11 to 1/16/12
Friends came from US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, Ethiopia, the UK, and The Bahamas

72 Followers as of 27 Jan. 2012

“Invisible Seattle Visible Again.”  Press release created by Washington State University Vancouver’s Marketing Department. 3 Jan. 2012. Retrieved:  28 Jan. 2012.  Reprinted in WSU News as “Ahead of Their Time.” 3 Jan. 2012. Retrieved: 28 Jan. 2012.  Reprinted also in WSU’s College of Liberal Arts website.


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