MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions Awards Its Seal to The Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing

I am excited to share that the Modern Language Association Committee on Scholarly Editions awarded its Seal to The Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing on Monday, July 11, 2022.

This award and seal mean that our project will be indexed with MLA’s CSE Approved Editions here, Additionally, we will receive a prize at the 2024 MLA meeting in Philadelphia.

It is an honor to be listed among the editions in this index, and it means that we (the Stainforth editors) did our job of meeting the highest standards in the field for a digital scholarly edition that is accurate, reliable, consistent, and explicit in its delivery of textual content. The process of obtaining the seal required that the project undergo review for a second time (we passed peer-review by the Advanced Research Consortium in October 2021).

For those who are not familiar with the project, the Stainforth project contains at its heart a TEI-encoded, browsable and searchable scholarly edition of Francis Stainforth’s library catalog manuscript, which documents the largest known Anglophone private library of women’s writing collected in the nineteenth century. The library catalog is 746 pages long and lists 7,122 editions (over 8,000 volumes) authored and edited by more than 2,800 writers, nearly all of whom are women who have been left out of literary and book histories from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

The Stainforth project plays an important role in the MLA’s CSE index (volumes A-Ivolumes J-Z). First, it represents scholarship on marginalized writers and texts among a list of scholarly editions that leans canonical. Second, it is one of few digital humanities projects in the list, joined by The Digital Ælfric and The William Blake Archive, for example. Third, the Stainforth editors have built a successful digital project largely supported by small-to-mid-size grants for programming and editorial work. As such, we hope it opens doors for institutional recognition of smaller DH editions that make a big impact on the field of literary and textual studies and center marginalized authors and works.

Thank you to the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions and to the many Stainforth editors and collaborators who helped us get here!

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