We’re going to be demoing the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base on our tour of the US, and I’ve mapping some paths through it that demonstrate some of my favourite aspects of the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base is a relationship database built in Drupal, with about 4000 nodes now, after a year and a half of development. There are entries for creative works of electronic literature and for critical works in the field, and these are connected both to each other (“This creative work is referenced by these critical works”) and to entries for authors, events the works may have been presented at, syllabi for courses they were taught in and more. So there’s bibliometric information, but also the potential for extracting social networks and more.

Here’s the page showing the most recently updated creative works. Right now there are 1175 creative works registered, and we add new works daily. Here I especially like being able to search by year published and by language.

Here’s a graph showing how the creative works are distributed by date of publication. This was made in Google Fusion, we don’t yet have a plugin to do this.

Here’s the page for a single creative work: Stephanie Strickland’s slippingglimpse:

The left column shows all the bibliographic information and links to the different versions of the work that are available online. There’s a brief description of the work, and a list of links to critical writing in the Knowledge Base that references the work.

Further down on the entry page you can also see which course syllabi registered in the Knowledge Base where this work is taught:

Here’s a screenshot of the Knowledge Base entry for the middle course listed there, Lori Emerson‘s graduate course on Digital Poetry and the Limits of Interpretation.

If you look at the entry itself you’ll see the many creative and critical works Lori uses in the course, and follow through to all the links. This is a hugely useful tool for developing new courses on electronic literature, because you can so easily see how other people teaching a particular work have used complementary works and essays, and when you add a work to your syllabus, you can very easily see which critical writing references it. Teachers, authors, critics and students can all request accounts and edit their own entries, much like in the Wikipedia. (You do have to request an account and show some basic interest in electronic literature, simply to avoid spam.)

Another useful way of using the syllabus function is to let your students build the syllabus in the Knowledge Base. Teachers can be given special features where they can see their students’s work, and students can add links to works already in the Knowledge Base and create new entries for works not already there.

Another way to explore the Knowledge Base is by starting with an author. Chris Funkhouser’s entry lists two creative works he has made, a string of critical writing, shows a journal he edits, and links to the entry for a syllabus of a course he has taught. We can click through to the entry for his new book, New Directions in Digital Poetry, and see links to all the creative works and critical writing substantially dealt with in the book.

There are more – just click the screenshot to see the full entry. Actually, the ELMCIP team at UiB had a “Friday Funkfest” where they (unfortunately, I couldn’t join them that day) spent several hours jamming together to get entries in place for all the works referenced in the book.

Today we’re off to the School of the Art Intitute in Chicago, where we’re meeting Judd Morrissey in Art and Technology and doing our first presentation. I’d better go and get ready!

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