**Please excuse for any cross-posting**

SUBJECT: Digital Thoreau takes Walden revisions and readers global

“I desire to speak somewhere without bounds; like a man in a waking moment” 
Henry David Thoreau, Walden


I'm writing to let you know about two milestones we've just reached at Digital Thoreau (http://digitalthoreau.org).

First, Walden: A Fluid Text Edition is now available for use. This edition enables readers to track Henry David Thoreau's revisions to Walden across the seven manuscript versions he composed between 1846 and 1854.  
To create it, we've taken the critical apparatus of the manuscript versions first prepared by Ronald E. Clapper in his 1967 Ph.D. dissertation The Development of Walden: A Genetic Text and encoded it in TEI. When displayed in the Versioning Machine (http://v-machine.org), open-source software first developed under the editorship of Susan Schreibman, our TEI makes it possible to compare any of the seven versions with any other or with the base text, the Princeton University Press edition of Walden. To produce our fluid-text Walden, we worked closely with Prof. Clapper; Elizabeth Witherell, editor-in-chief of Princeton's The Works of Henry D. Thoreau; and Syd Bauman, XML Programmer-Analyst at Northeastern University Libraries. We gratefully acknowledge their assistance and the cooperation of Princeton University Press.

Second, we've launched The Readers' Thoreau (http://commons.digitalthoreau.org), a website that embeds the published version of Walden in a social network, making it possible for readers to form groups to discuss Thoreau's classic in the margins of the text and in discussion forums. Funded largely by a State University of New York Innovative Instruction Technology Grant, The Readers' Thoreau is built entirely with open-source tools and has resulted in improvements to those tools that will benefit everyone who uses them. The social network is provided by Commons In A Box, a WordPress plugin developed at City University of New York, and the in-text social reading capability comes from another plugin, CommentPress. Christian Wach, the current lead developer of CommentPress, has written new code that tightens the integration between the two plugins and adds many new features to the CommentPress interface, including more granular visibility settings, the ability to "like" and feature comments,  and the ability to let selected users enrich their comments with media. Readers will be able to filter the comments that are visible to them so that they see only those they care about. In addition, all readers will be able to follow discussion among a "panel of experts" — readers whose knowledge of Thoreau gives their contributions to the discussion added interest and value. We've seeded these expert comments with the late Thoreau scholar Walter Harding's annotations to his 1995 edition of Walden

Finally, I'd like to invite you to watch the development of a third project at Digital Thoreau, The Days of Walter Harding, Thoreau Scholar (http://walterharding.org). The Days is an ongoing effort by undergraduate digital humanists at SUNY Geneseo to explore the life and work of a preeminent Thoreauvian who helped to found the Thoreau Society in 1941, produced numerous scholarly books and articles on his subject — including the influential biography The Days of Henry Thoreau (1965) — and taught at Geneseo from 1956 to 1982, where he achieved the ranks of SUNY Distinguished Professor and University Professor. Using the open-source archiving platform Omeka, Geneseo students are digitizing materials from Harding's vast trove of Thoreauviana and organizing them into online exhibits.

We're excited about all three of these projects. We hope you'll visit them at http://digitalthoreau.org, engage with them, and send us your feedback.

With warm regards,
Paul Schacht
Professor and Chair
Department of English
Director, Digital Thoreau
SUNY Geneseo
Welles Hall 226
Geneseo, NY 14454

Digital Thoreau is a collaborative enterprise of SUNY Geneseo, the Thoreau Society, and the Thoreau Institute of the Walden Woods Project Library. Special thanks to Princeton University Press for their generous cooperation.

Kate Pitcher
Head, Technical Services & Collection Development
Milne Library @ SUNY Geneseo
Ph: 585-245-5064
Email: [log in to unmask]

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