Guidelines for creating Individual Work entries

Anyone with an account can submit entries to the Directory. In order to be included, entries should meet the following criteria:

  1. Entries must be about "electronic literature." Electronic Literature refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:
    • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
    • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
    • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
    • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
    • Interactive fiction
    • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
    • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
    • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
    • Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing
  2. Entries should not be written by the authors of the works that they describe.
  3. Entries should be well-developed, well-written, descriptive, and accurate.
  4. Entries should be written in English. Read more about this policy »

The keys to a well-developed entry are simple. The editors at the ELD envision each entry as bibliographic editions, recalling Jerome McGann’s theorizations in The Textual Condition (1991). The “Description” section of a strong ELD entry should not only describe the work as it is, but must consider these four central elements of digital media literature:

  • Discoverability: how and where can users/readers find and engage with the work? Is it site-specific or installed? Is it open-accessor behind a paywall? What devices are required to access? Is it accessible?
  • Modes of reception: how is the work received, literally? In what manner does the user/reader receive and engage with the work? And, as an extension, how has the work been critically “received,” if applicable?
  • Relevance to media: how central is the media format of the work? In what ways does the work take advantage of or engage with its media? How does this work fit into a history of other works in that or a related media?
  • Experientiality: what or how was the entry author’s experience of the work? Did you, as the author of this entry, visit a space? How many times did you interact with the work, or did you? Could you? What did you touch? What did you read? Hear? See? Feel?
  • This last point is what separates the ELD from ELMCIP or other more bibliographic or comprehensive databases or archives. The ELD recognizes that one of the strengths of electronic literature is its tendency toward irreproducable reading experiences, to the interventionary actions of an active reader, and to installed or site-specific works. We do not pretend that our academic or literary work is outside of these experiences. A good entry can be either very short or very long (150-650 words), but it must consider the basic issues listed above. While you might not write on all these issues in any systematic way in your entry, the fact that you have taken them into consideration will mean that you are being diligent and taking your job as a contributor seriously.

    The ELD also encourages entry authors to mine other resources, including manuscripts, articles/essays and other shorter scholarly documents, ELMCIP and other relevant web-based resources, and so on for relevant ELD entries. All mined entries should clearly and accurately cite their original source on the entry page. In this way, the ELD works towards demonstrating the communal and the interdependent elements of e-literary scholarship and establishes open access sharing and citation of resources as vital best practices for digital humanities and electronic scholarly practices.

    Entry writers should review the site, familiarize themselves with the field, and take the time to review the detailed handbook »