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Electronic Literature Lab For Advanced Inquiry into Born Digital Literature

Welcome to the Electronic Literature Lab (ELL)


Directed by Dr. Dene Grigar, ELL contains 60 vintage Macintosh computers and PCs, dating back from 1977 and a library of 200 electronic literary works. It is used for the advanced inquiry into curating, preserving, and the production of born digital literary works. It is one of four media archaeology labs in the U.S. that allow scholars access to obsolete digital works on appropriate computer equipment and the only lab experimenting with the preservation of literary apps.

To learn more about ELL:
To read the ELL Blog:
To access ELL’s database of computers and library:


2017-2018 Activities

1. Wikipedia-Edit-A-Thon
Friday, October 20, 2017, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A one-day event aimed at developing entries for e-lit authors and works in Wikipedia. 10 people limit. Lunch will be served.

2. 1st Gen E-Lit Traversals

A monthly live Facebook and videotaped Reader Traversals of 1st generation of electronic literature, between 1990-1997. Seven are planned during 2017-2018:

3. Workshops
Half-day hands-on workshops on these topics. Lunch will be served.

  • Best Practices for Preserving Apps: October 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Working with Legacy Hardware and Software: April 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

All events are free. For more information about events or to become an affiliate member of ELL, contact Dene Grigar, dgrigar[at]wsu[dot]edu.


New Staff
Beginning the 2017-2018 Nicholas Schiller, WSUV Librarian, will take the Assistant Director position in ELL. He will be assisting Grigar with documenting electronic literary works, hosting ELL’s events, and working with the Electronic Literature Organization with its archives held with Compute Canada.

Vanessa Rhodes, an undergraduate student in the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, will join the team assisting Grigar and Schiller with documentation projects.

Mariah Gwinn, also an undergraduate student in the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, has been hired to develop the database for the literary games collected in ELL’s library.









Post-Doctoral Students:

Kathi Inman Berens (U.S.). “Touch and Decay: Tomasula’s TOC in iPad.” May-August 2011.

Daniela Maduro (Portugal). “Shapeshifting Texts: Keeping Track of Electronic Literature.” Forthcoming May 10-June 5, 2016.

Ula Pawlicka (Poland). A study of electronic literature contributing to her dissertation. August 2014-February 2015.

Monika Górska Olesinka (Poland). Research into Stephanie Strickland’s electronic literature masterwork, True North. September 2016.


PhD Students:

External Examiner. James O’Sullivan. University College Cork. December 7, 2015.


Undergraduate Research:

Madeleine Brookman. (2016 Emeritus Society Undergraduate Research Award in the category of Arts & Humanities; 2015 CAS Summer Mini-Grant. 2014-5 Auvil Fellowship). Chronicles: Documenting the Articulation of Culture in Video Games. 2015.


Bibliography of Grigar’s Research 


Grigar, Dene & Stuart Moulthrop. Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature. Open source book funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 2015.

Stuart Moulthrop & Dene Grigar. Traversals: The Use of Preservation for Early Electronic Writing. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Publication: Spring 2017.

O’Sullivan, James & Dene Grigar. Electronic Literature: Contexts, Forms, and Practices. University of West Virginia Press. Under contract; manuscript underway.



Grigar, Dene. “The Legacy of Judy Malloy. #WomenTechLit. Ed.Maria Mencia. University of West Virginia Press: Morgantown, WV. Manuscript submitted and under review.

Grigar, Dene & Stuart Moulthrop. “Traversals: A Method of Preservation for Born-Digital Texts.” The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities. Ed. Jentery Sayers. NY, NY: Routledge Press. Revisions submitted.

Grigar, Dene. “Curating Electronic Literature as Critical and Scholarly Practice.” Digital Humanities Quarterly (8.4) 2015.

—. “Why Curating? A Curatorial Statement about Electronic Literature and Works on Desktop.” Rhizomes (24) 2012. Retrieved: 30 Aug. 2014.


External Grants

$24,280. Funded. 2016 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Connections grant. PIs: Caitlin Fisher, York University; Dene Grigar, WSUV.

$52,003. Funded. 2013 The National Endowment for the Humanities Start Up Grant. PIs: Dene Grigar & Stuart Moulthrop. “Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature.” OGRD-121827001.


Curated Exhibits:

“You/I: Story Interfaces & Reader Experiences” Forthcoming at the Winona State University Art Gallery. September 22-October 14, 2016.

“New Text.” International Symposium on Electronic Art 2015. August 2015. Vancouver, B.C. Catalog: Art and Disruption, edited by Kate Armstrong. Brighton, UK: ISEA International, 2015. 154-169. Catalog PDF: My archival site:

“Game Changers: Video Games as Innovation.” Co-curated with Kate Palermini. Nouspace Gallery. March 6-28, 2015. My Archival Site:

“Moving Words: Kinetic Poetry and Prose, 1984-2014.” Illuminations, the gallery for the School of English, Media, and Theatre Studies at the National University of Ireland. Maynooth, Ireland; March 2014. My archival site: Illuminations’ archival site:

“Pathfinders: 25 Years of Experimental Literary Art.” The 2014 Modern Language Association Conference. Chicago, IL; January 2014. My archival site:

“Exploring the Electronic Literary Landscape of the Pacific Northwest.” The 2013 Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Victoria, Canada; June 6, 2013. My archival site:

“Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms.” The Electronic Literature Showcase. The Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.; April 3-5, 2013. My archival site: The Library of Congress’s archival site:

“Avenues of Access.” The 2013 Modern Language Association Conference. Boston, MA; January 2013. My archival site:

“Electrifying Literature.” The 2012 Electronic Literature Organization 2012 Conference. Morgantown, WV; June 2012. My archival site:

“Electronic Literature.” The 2012 Modern Language Association Conference. Seattle, WA; January 2012. My archival site:


Noted artists & scholars who have visited ELL include Mark Amerika, Sandy Baldwin, Bill Bly, M. D. Coverley (Marjorie Luesebrink), Shelley Jackson, John McDaid, Stuart Moulthrop, Jeneen Naji, James O’Sullivan, Jentery Sayers, Scott Shamp, Ray Siemens, and Stephanie Strickland.



Research Assistant: Ryan House, M.A.
Technical Specialist: Greg Philbrook, B. A.
Undergraduate Docents for Electronic Literature Exhibits: Setareh Alizadeh, Madeleine Brookman, Nicole Buckner, Melissa Carroll, Hunter Crawford, Evan Flanagan, Morgan Hutchinson, Jason Lee, Kerri Lingo, Alan McGinnis, Gary Nasca, Kate Palermini, Greg Philbrook, Margarete Strawn, Amalia Vacca.