Katherine Bode Keynote presentation

Digital collections: Archival and editorial impulses remixed

Archives and collections are among the nation’s important cultural assets. But how do we make sense of them and ensure they are accessible to the wider community? Scholarly editors traditionally have taken a role akin to that of a curator in the selection and interpretation of archival and documentary records, and the digital age would appear to make this job easier. However, digitisation enables far more extensive access to archival documents than we might ever have imagined possible. And while the book format seems to be imploding (some consider it to be ‘dead’), it is also simultaneously exploding with seemingly limitless, new and extensible, interactive and interoperable formats. At the very least, these changes present exciting possibilities for editors in the 21st century and beyond.

With reference to her ground-breaking national database project, entitled To be continued: The Australian Newspaper Fiction Database, Katherine will explore some ways in which the principles of editing might be applied to the relationships between archives and editions, between individual literary works and the other works that circulated alongside them in the past, and between the readers and editors who together explore digitised collections in the present. This inquiry proposes new possibilities for editing beyond the page, beyond the book and beyond the literary work.