May 1, 2008
The book reviews at the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies have been an extremely valuable resource for digital media scholars. The site has been online since 1996; it provides information about events and courses as well as about books. The book reviews in particular have helped those with different approaches (from literature, the visual arts, history, the social sciences, law, and so on) learn about important new media work in adjacent areas, and, of course, has helped to keep scholars aware of the new books available for personal consumption and use in courses. The site has been an important part of the discourse about digital media, one of the really important sites, along with ebr (Electronic Book Review), for discussion of book-length studies and arguments.
So I’m particularly pleased that RCCS has just published Kimberly De Vries’s review of the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1. This anthology of creative digital writing, book-like in many ways but provided on CD-ROM and on the Web, not as bound leaves of paper, was released in 2006 and is to be the first of a series. It has received some very positive attention, most of it internationally – it was reviewed in publications in Australia, Germany, Spain, and Sweden. But in the United States, for the most part (ebr, again, excepted) volume 1 of the ELC has fallen into the crack between the individual Web work and the real book, tumbling through space like at the beginning of Myst. It’s a particularly pleasing surprise that RCCS, with its important focus on books, has chosen to include the first volume of the collection among their materials reviewed. De Vries has provided a thoughtful review, to which two of my co-editors, N. Katherine Hayles and Grand Text Auto‘s Scott Rettberg, have replied. Check out the other two May reviews and take note of Hayles’s new book, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, mentioned on here before, which includes the ELC v1 on CD-ROM as an insert.