Since the introduction of portable tape recording media technologies in the 1960s, writers and artists have been documenting their performances of literary works, events and conversations with creative abandon. Yet, most of these audio archives remain inaccessible or in peril of imminent decay, or, if digitized, are still largely disconnected from each other.
The SSHRC-funded SpokenWeb partnership aims to develop coordinated and collaborative approaches to literary historical study, digital development, and critical and pedagogical engagement with diverse collections of literary sound recordings from across Canada and beyond.
These approaches include 1) new forms of historical and critical scholarly engagement; 2) digital preservation and aggregation techniques, asset management and infrastructure to support sustainable access; 3) techniques and tools for searching, visualizing, analyzing and enhancing critical engagement (for features relevant to humanities research and pedagogy); and 4) innovative ways of mobilizing digitized spoken and literary recordings within pedagogical, performative and public contexts.
The SpokenWeb program begins with the preservation and description of sonic artifacts that have captured literary events of the past, and quickly moves into a wide range of approaches and activities activate these artifacts in the present.