Report: Conference on Editorial Problems. Toronto, ON. October 22-24, 2010

EMiCMagazine folk: there’s a lot going on north of the 49th Parallel these days.
I’ve been asked to report on the annual “Conference on Editorial Problems” held at the University of Toronto and hosted by Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC). The annual conference addresses issues in editorial practices and brings scholars together to discuss current work and theory. This post is divided into four sections: 1. Introduction. 2. EMiC 3. Sean Latham’s Keynote 4. Tools for MODMAGers


Ostensibly, the conference is not about “magazines,” but there were some important discussions and revelations this community will find very informative–especially Sean Latham’s keynote presentation, “Unpacking My Digital Library,” which might have been called, “the structural logic of TEI is cramping my periodical markup style.”

Before I talk about Latham’s talk, let me define a key term you’ll find in this post and quickly let you know what is going on in Canada.


Editing Modernism in Canada. EMiC was formed by Dean Irvine and a host of other Canadian institutions to secure research and training funding for editing Canadian modernist texts (including magazines):

The Editing Modernism in Canada Project (EMiC) facilitates collaboration among researchers and institutions from regions across Canada and from the UK, France, Belgium, and the United States. The objectives of the EMiC project are:

  • to coordinate editorial initiatives undertaken by its participants and develop new ways to network individual projects and researchers
  • to train students and new scholars using experiential-learning pedagogies
  • to facilitate the international dissemination of our collaborative research and editorial work in both print and digital media, and
  • to develop sustained relationships among universities, publishers, the media, public libraries, and non-profit cultural organizations (book clubs, reading groups, reading series, literary festivals) that will contribute to a public literary culture and ensure that Canadian modernism becomes an ongoing part of literary discourse in Canada.

I’m building on my experience at the Modernist Journals Project to create what we’re calling “The Digital Commons,” a digital archive of modernist Canadian texts. My first project is digitizing “Le Nigog,” (1919) an experimental magazine from Montreal, which will blow your magazine socks off (more on that in a different post).

MODMAGers, if you are working on anything Canadian, please contact me or the EMiC project. There are funds available for research and training if you become affiliated with EMiC.

Sean Latham

As I noted earlier, Sean Latham delivered a mesmerizing keynote on the limits of TEI in the digitization of magazines–a talk by the way, which grew out of the discussions held at the Magazine Seminar in Tulsa this past summer. Latham’s talk challenged the idea of “serial media” when it comes to reading magazines, which he argues welcomes “unorthodox modes of readings.” That is, the magazine invites us to flip through it, backwards and forwards, without the need to read page-by-page. This “asynchronic way of reading magazines” is a discontinuous  mode of reading that challenges our “habits of serial reading routinized by the book.” Latham’s talk then challenged us to find ways to asynchronously present magazines over the web–something TEI, with its hierarchical structure, does NOT allow at the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, Latham’s talk was much more nuanced and theoretical than this, and he used words that make me blush: “ergotic” and “textons” just to name two. Let us hope he publishes this work soon–I cannot come close to delivering the nuance and import of this presentation. I can tell you the audience was riveted and riled by someone pointing out the limits and failings of TEI in the digital humanities.


The other developments MODMAGers will find useful are those in the field of open-source software. I’ve got a list of material on my own website, but let me note briefly the tools discussed at the conference. EMiC is building a web-based “Image Markup Tool” based on the work of Martin Holmes at the University of Victoria. This will allow you/your classroom to upload an image to the web and be able to mark it up right there in your web browser. (for tools you can use/see right now, see Scripto and TILE).

You should also familiarize yourself with the open-source database software OMEKA. Omeka allows you to upload and host your own magazine collection for free. Once it’s installed, it is really easy to upload your material to show the world. Best of all, it follows Dublin-Core metadata. Again, you should look at OMEKA and see what it might offer to  your individual projects or classrooms.

For a full list of tools, see my website. And if you know of something I’m missing, please let me know!

aw, look at me, I'm ramblin'
                         again.  Wal, uh hope you folks enjoyed

One response to “Report: Conference on Editorial Problems. Toronto, ON. October 22-24, 2010

  1. Pingback: The Digital Gallery: Omeka and Online Art Exhibits | Magazine Modernisms

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