**Please excuse for any cross-posting**
SUBJECT: /Digital Thoreau takes Waldenrevisions and readers global/

*/"I desire to speak somewhere without bounds; like a man in a waking 
Henry David Thoreau, /Walden/


I'm writing to let you know about two milestones we've just reached at 
Digital Thoreau (

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 (, 
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 

Second, we've launched /The Readers' Thoreau/ 
(, 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/ ( /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, engage with them, and send us your 

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 

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


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