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CFP: IOPN Digital Critical Edition for a Text Recently in the Public Domain (Extended Deadline)

"The Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN) requests proposals from scholars interested in creating a digital scholarly edition, with particular interest in a literary text that has recently come into the public domain or will do so by January 2022 in the United States (i.e., first published in the United States between 1923 – 1926). Editions of texts by members of underrepresented groups are particularly welcome, including texts related to the Harlem Renaissance. The resulting edition will be published as the second title in a new series of digital scholarly editions published at IOPN under the Windsor & Downs Press imprint.

The writer of the successful proposal will receive two semesters of research assistant support at 33% time to support the project, funded by a library strategic initiative grant in partnership with the University of Illinois Department of English. The RA appointment would take place in spring and fall of 2022, with a goal of having a “beta” version of the digital publication prepared to share with the public for feedback at the end of the RA appointment or shortly after. The RA will be staffed by a graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Illinois.

A beta version is now available for the first publication in this series, an edition of Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This is available as an example for reference, but the chosen project may use a different IOPN platform or have a different structure depending on the specific needs of the edition.

While there are a wide variety of types of digital edition projects, we particularly seek scholarly digital editions in the vein of “critical editions.” Such editions facilitate further teaching and research by providing a reliable version of a particular text with appropriate critical apparatus, including accounting for variants between different published editions (i.e., the text as it appeared in periodicals vs in a book format). The edition should provide a way into the text that encourages readers to go deeper into its production, reception, and constitutive versions, and offer readers a way through the text and out again into its social context. While the shape of digital scholarly editions varies widely and it is expected the nature of the work and the primary source material will drive the project, in most cases IOPN anticipates features as described below.

  • A digital edition should offer at minimum one full text reading view that minimizes the distraction of the critical apparatus. IOPN digital editions will also provide facsimile digitized images of the original published versions as referents to the original historical documents, but the edition provides its own reading text. Other views of the text typically show variants between the published versions to show how the text was changed by the author, publisher, or other agents. Known unpublished variants may also be accounted for in the edition if the researcher can secure the necessary permissions for use of unpublished material that remains protected by copyright.
  • IOPN editions typically will include additional related primary source material as context for interpretation, with some explication. These may involve book reviews, documentation of historical/cultural references, or other primary sources that give insight into the production or reception of the work. Typically, editors provide a short biography of the author and other key figures such as illustrators as applicable, and a short editorial essay explaining the editorial principles used in producing the edition and challenges particular to the work and its publication history.
  • IOPN digital editions may include specific digital features that relate to the content of the text and are determined by the editor depending on the timeframe of production. For example, a text with many locations may be accompanied by an interactive map. Depending on the nature of the edition, a simplified print-on-demand version may be published as well to facilitate additional use.

Priority for the selection of the text for the edition will based on the following criteria:

  • Published in the United States between 1923-26 (inclusive) preferred.
  • Lack of an existing in-print scholarly edition for this text.
  • Existence of multiple original published/unpublished versions of the text that will be used to produce the edition, which accounts for differences between the versions. However, editions where only one published version of the text exists may be considered if the text is fully out of print and there is a clear scholarly rationale for importance and the utility of an edition approach, or if the currently available print copy is clearly insufficient for teaching and research for reasons explained in the application (including that the current printed edition misrepresents the text in important ways).
  • Availability of existing print copies of all key versions from the previous bullet, particularly print copies which may be used for digitization. Available print copies in the collections of the University of Illinois Library are particularly helpful to facilitate this process. Alternately, if a text has already been digitized and the digitized copy is not restricted by a vendor license as a condition of access, that may be used.
  • Ability of IOPN platforms or interoperable tools to meet the needs of the specifically digital components of the edition. IOPN staff can advise on this issue if the researcher is not aware of what digital tools are available.
  • A work by an individual from an underrepresented group will be strongly preferred."

July 31, 2021 12:00 am

CV and proposal submissions may be emailed to

Event type: Call for Papers