e-Lit Resource
Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1

Published in October of 2006, the first volume of the ELO’s Electronic Literature Collection collects sixty representative and various works of electronic literature and digital poetry as an anthology. The collection was selected and edited by four editors: N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, and Stephanie Strickland. This first volume of the ELC was the first major anthology of electronic literature at its time, and it contains many vital and pioneering works of electronic literature.

The collection was first released on the web with a CD-ROM available with identical contents. The publication of both formats was intended, as the ELC Vol. 1’s About page notes, to “reach the broadest audience possible and to provide for reading, classroom use, sharing, and reference on and off the network.” Many of the works collected in this first iteration of the ELC are now considered to be foundational works in their genre, or of electronic literature writ large. The collection includes work by eliterature mainstays such as M. D. Coverley, Maria Mencia, J. R. Carpenter, Deena Larsen, Robert Kendall, John Cayeley, Michael Joyce, and Shelley Jackson.

The collection is available to view and navigate in four different formats. First, the main index presents the texts by way of hyperlinked thumbnail graphics. The works are also sorted variously by author and title alphabetically, and then categorized by keywords which are also defined on the keyword index page. This keyword index page, while not exhaustive, is one of the first glossary-style pages looking to define the major terms of e-literary study—for example: kinetic, CAVE, codework, installation, hypertext—for ease of scholarship.

The keyword page continues to be a useful resource for defining and clarifying eliterary terms. It is also a good way to demonstrate how varied the ELC Vol. 1 worked to be in its representation of various formats and styles of electronic literature. Later volumes of the ELC would maintain this keyword feature alongside the title and author sorting. The ELC Vol. 3 would add country and language to its indexing pages to encourage the study and reading of eliterary works produced in languages other than English, and in countries outside of the Western tradition.

A useful list of the collected works is also available on the ELMCIP page for the ELC Vol. 1, found here.