The thematic research collection

Lorcan 1 min read

John Unsworth writes …

… I predict that the genre of scholarship that will replace the book will be the thematic research collection. [ARL 228: The Crisis in Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities]


Thematic research collections offer the author all the benefits Professor Alonso ascribes to the book, in his recent “Editor’s Column” in PMLA, though sometimes in slightly different forms: “the choice of texts, the marshalling of sources and evidence, the construction of an argument that spans several chapters, the bibliographic research, the engagement with the readers’ reports, the reading of proofs, the choice of journals for review.” I could provide examples of IATH projects that have traced each of these steps–the Blake Archive, the Rossetti Archive, the Whitman Archive, the Valley of the Shadow, and others.8 And I’m sure the faculty who have assembled, edited, annotated, and analyzed these thematic research collections would agree that they are the result of what Professor Alonso, in the case of the scholarly book, describes as a “protracted and somewhat enigmatic process to which many people contribute, sometimes unbeknownst to them.” [ARL 228: The Crisis in Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities]

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