A team of literary scholars, students, designers and librarians and archivists based at Concordia University and across North America with a shared research interest in the study, preservation and creative use of literary and humanities-oriented audio recordings. This project began as a four-year federally-funded SSHRC IG project: “SpokenWeb: Developing a Comprehensive Web-Based Digital Spoken Word Archive for Literary Research.” Using digitized live recordings of a Montreal poetry reading series from 1966-1974 featuring performances by major North American poets, among them Beat poets, Black Mountain poets and members of TISH, a Canadian poetry collective, our team is investigating the features that will be the most conducive to scholarly engagement with recorded poetry recitation and performance. SpokenWeb has since expanded into a larger consortium of researchers and community organizations who are engaged in research and development activities pertaining to
1. the study of spoken recordings within the context of literary studies, 2. the exploration of digitization and digital preservation techniques and platforms for collections of literary sound recordings, 3. the exploration and development of interfaces and tools designed for engaging with such materials, 4. the pursuit of oral literary history as a means of contextualizing audio-documented literary readings, 5. the organization of archival performance events that integrate archival audio into live performance, 6. and the development of new forms of pedagogy that make use of archival literary audio.
The SpokenWeb site features recordings from The SGWU Poetry Series archive (including tools for navigation of the audio), as well as our ongoing experiments in designing a practical interface for the unique cultural artifact that is the literary sound recording. We will be making notes form our team meetings and related Blog posts public. The site will report on our experiments with Sound Visualization, as well as the latest Research activities generated by our team. The Oral Literary History component of the site will gradually integrate interviews we are in the process of conducting with individuals who organized, read or attended the readings in the series, as a means of building up a narrative that explains what the series meant at the time of its occurrence. We will also be adding content to our Resources section of the site, which consists of an informative inventory of other spoken word sites that exist on the web, a toolbox that reports on a variety of digital tools we will be considering for integration into the spokenweb design, among other practical things.Further, we will be posting documentation of the series of Events that we shall be organizing as part of our Performing the Spoken Word Archive initiative. All of the latest News pertaining to the project will appear on the SpokenWeb homepage.
If you have questions or comments about SpokenWeb, if you are an institution or web-design company that wishes to partner with us, or if you are an individual who has some connection to the Sir George Williams Poetry Series and are willing to be interviewed for this project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Jason Camlot at firstname.lastname@example.org.