WWP The Project Newsletter Archive Volume 3,Number 1 Acquisiton Committee Named

Text Acquisition Committee Named

The WWP has, ever since its beginnings, relied on the research and guidance of its scholarly board in developing the textbase and setting long-term goals for its expansion. At the last Annual Meeting in September, however, this function was finally formalized in the creation of a Text Acquisition Committee drawn from the staff and scholars of the WWP. Carol Barash, Associate Professor of English at Seton Hall University, was asked to chair the committee, which will set priorities and guidelines for textbase expansion and, through a series of small, working subcommittees, recommend specific texts for inclusion in the WWP textbase over the next three years. The Acquisition Committee will review and approve the recommendations of its subcommittees, and pass on the results to the WWP's Director and Textbase Editor for acquisition and transcription. It will also report yearly to the Executive Committee and to the WWP as a whole at the Annual Meeting, where its work can be reviewed in the context of the overall objectives and progress of the WWP.

With the Mellon-funded Renaissance Women Online (RWO) initiative foremost in our minds, a Renaissance subcommittee was the first to be created, chaired by Elizabeth Hageman, Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and one of the founders of the WWP. Working with her are Boyd Berry of the Virginia Commonwealth University and Georgianna Ziegler of the Folger Shakespeare Library. The group will be recommending a set of texts to complete the RWO portion of the textbase, building on the existing strengths of the collection. Additional working groups will be created by the Acquisition Committee to research the areas to be expanded during the next two years under the WWP's new NEH grant, and to recommend specific groups of texts which will fulfill the goals set by the committee. The first of these, chaired by Nancy Armstrong of Brown University, will address the urgent need to expand the WWP's coverage of women of color and colonial authors.

The Acquisition Committee, whose members are distributed over a wide geographical area, functions electronically via an online discussion list, and addresses issues as broad as the interdisciplinary range of the textbase, and as focussed as the current prominence of particular authors. During the past six months it has attempted to identify particular textual groupings - generic, chronological, topical - which could both expand and enrich the textbase by emphasizing the texts' embeddedness in a cultural context and their links with other texts. Now, with the new NEH grant a reality, the committee will solidify its priorities around the actual resources available, and decide how to make the most of our next phase of expansion. It will also need to address issues such as the encoding of variant editions, the treatment of early anthologies and of texts by men which include works by women, and how to balance historical, generic, and pedagogical considerations in the development of the textbase. Furthermore, with the possibility of future grant applications, the committee will also work on the articulation of longer-term goals to be fulfilled if other funding becomes available.

As the committee works on these questions, it welcomes the input of the larger WWP community as well. If you have specific suggestions - conceptual priorities or individual texts and authors - please send email for Carol Barash to wwp@brown.edu, or post your thoughts to the WWP-L list for discussion.

Acquisition Committee members are:

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