The Walt Whitman Archive – Question 4
Mark A. Greene, Evan McGonagill, Kenneth M. Price, Claire Warwick, Edward Whitley
4What other issues or questions relating to The Walt Whitman Archive most intrigue you?
I give a great credit to The Walt Whitman Archive co-director Kenneth Price for taking a critical look at the costs associated with an endeavor such as his. “[M]any people, myself included, have described our site as free, yet a considerable amount of resources continue to go into its making. I want to explore that conundrum.”Read this Response
In the Digital Humanist’s tool belt, the database is the trusty stand-by. Robust and indispensable, it has become a basic tool of modern academic research. One of the primary endeavors of the Digital Humanities, however, is to re-focus the perspective on the tools we use, and perhaps to redefine the term “tool” in the process. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a thing … with which some operation is performed; a means of effecting something.”Read this Response
At the Whitman Archive we recently have focused on two aspects of Whitman’s work: 1) what we call his scribal documents—the letters Whitman copied or drafted for others and the notes and summaries he drafted as a clerk in federal government offices; 2) Whitman’s crossing of international boundaries as seen in translations and in the remaking of “Whitman” as his work is absorbed into other cultural, literary, and political traditions.Read this Response
In the following section I would like to reflect on some questions about the nature of digital resources, humanities scholarship and the uses to which such material may be put. One of these is the still-contentious issue of whether the creation of such resources is regarded as scholarship in itself or as a way of facilitating the work of other scholars. Even the most recent studies indicate that opinions still remain sharply divided…Read this Response
Ed Folsom has written that one of the goals of the Whitman Archive is to “grow the database so that the surprises of searching and juxtaposing will become richer and more frequent.” Folsom’s vision is that the Whitman Archive will become not only a centralized repository for all of Whitman’s texts, but also a discovery to…Read this Response