From Thursday, October 16th to Saturday, Octoboer 18th, I attended the 2008 Watson Conference on "The New Work ofComposing," every minute of which was fantasticly rich and engaging. (View the conference program in .pdf.) From that conference, a book with contributions from conference attendees and tentatively with the same name as theconference theme will be submitted to Computers and CompositionDigital Press. What's more, the editors are imagining this bookin innovative and exciting ways. As the call for digital submissions suggests, the "edited collection?asan outgrowth of the conference theme?seeksto explore how new communicative technologies andgenres are changing what we think of as 'composing' includingsuch core concepts as 'writing,' 'text,' 'author,' 'literacy,' and 'scholarship.'"
Sounds like a great read, but here's where the book gets particularly intriguing (again, from the call for digital submissions): "Because the book will be published digitally, weare looking for scholarship that both addresses andenacts the 'new work of composing.' Wewelcome hypermediated scholarly papers and especiallyencourage other forms of digital scholarship, includingvideo-texts, sound essays, networked books, webtexts,other conceptions of multi-genre and/or multimodaltexts. We invite you to query us before proposalsubmission so that we can help you conceive of yourwork in digital, multimodal formats."
In short, the scholarly book and scholarly work are being re-thought and re-composed. During the conference, when I listened to the editors of the collection speak to their expecations of what's to come, I heard nothing but openness to possibility. That said, I have no clue what the book will ultimately read or sound like. But I do know that I really look forward to it and others like it. And that?what we might call the new work of composing?is a refreshing feeling indeed.