Course number: ENG 287H1F Fall 2014 Instructor: Siobhan O’Flynn, PhD
Course title: The Digital Text
Digital technologies are changing both the material form of the book in the popularization of eBooks and iBooks and expanding the methods whereby we can study texts. With the increasing availability of free and sometimes open source digital platforms, analytical, mark-up, and visualization tools, students can now interact directly with digital texts and online archives, and ask new and traditional questions through innovative means. Digital tools, for example, can be used to identify word and phrase recurrences in large data sets or in individual texts, revealing recurrent themes and linguistic patterns. Results can give surprising insights into the concerns of specific cultural periods or of individual authors, and marked shifts over time.
As academics, our increasing reliance on digital archives and databases for research in primary and secondary sources raise further questions, such as:
While there are distinct advantages to creating and interacting with digital texts, we will also consider significant challenges and debates such as licensing vs. owning, platform and software obsolescence, and the phenomenon of digital decay.
Recognizing that the practice of Digital Literary Studies is rapidly evolving with the publication of new tools and the development of new methodological approaches, the course will focus on four main areas of inquiry: Debates, Tools, Disruptions, and Innovations. To this end, throughout the course, students will:
Further questions we will explore will be:
In addition, guest speakers will contribute their perspectives as active practitioners working with digital technologies in the academic, creative, and industry spheres and they will share their insights on the challenges and benefits of working with digital technologies.
No technical background is required though students should expect to be active online on a variety of social media and/or web platforms. Of course, anonymity/privacy concerns will be respected and pseudonyms are a viable alternative.
Preparation and Participation:
All readings are listed by class on the weekly schedule and are available online, either open on the web and accessible via embedded link or through the UTor Library database. Should any link appear to be broken, first try another browser, then email me & I will check & update. Currently all links are live.
Texts we will be working with for coding exercises and assignments will be from the following:
See our Blackboard site for all standard UToronto info on office hours, TAs, & other course specifics.
The Weekly Schedule is detailed on the Weekly Schedule Page