New Online Archive Offers Rich Details of Walt Whitman’s Works, from Duke News

Contemporary scholars are painstakingly creating a comprehensive new annotated internet archive to enable poet Walt Whitman’s works to reach 21st-century readers in a way not possible before, according to Matt Cohen, assistant professor of English at Duke University and an editor of the Walt Whitman Archive.

This is a seriously cool digital library. I call it a DL, they call it a digital archive. Potayto, potahto? Some interesting issues are raised here in the intersection of DL work & scholarship:

Spoon said “tagging” text for the Whitman archive is a high-pressure job because “you’re always aware labeling a passage with the wrong ‘tag’ could make a scholar miss something important about a great American figure.” Such “tags” are critical to the use of the archive by literary scholars.

This is my favorite bit:

Cohen said the archive also fulfills yearnings Whitman expressed in his poetry. “Whitman wanted ‘an audience interminable,’ hundreds of millions, across generations,” Cohen said. “He celebrated advances in information technology – the steam printing press and the telegraph. Whitman would have loved the internet and published everything on it.”