LitCan: A Literary Publishing Network and Model for the Humanities
With the advent of new technologies, opportunities exist for academics in the humanities to further scholarship. Small literary magazines and journals around the world are crucial to the development of humanities. Research has demonstrated how these publications serve as incubators for new as well as established poets and prose writers. With the advent of electronic journals (e-zines), conventional literary magazines that use print media face new challenges and must find ways to adapt. A key challenge for literary journals in Canada and around the world is that the economic model of existing print publication is not sustainable. Editors and staff are often underpaid or not paid at all and overworked and this affects timeliness and productivity. Insufficient resources and overloaded staff result in missed and late issues and other delays, which, in turn, often lead to a decline in readership. Libraries, in particular, are reluctant to subscribe to journals that have missed or have late publications. By working together, editors can learn to improve existing publication technological processes and adapt to new media that use image, text, sound, and technology to ensure that the literary journal is economically viable and that the publications are delivered and disseminated in a timely fashion. This paper will present some of the findings of LitCan, an interdisciplinary network of creative writing journals across Canada (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). I will discuss the implications of this network for literary journals around the world. Specifically, I will examine the interplay between technology and text and the ramifications that this has for production, reception, markets, and regulation. I will demonstrate some of the ways that LitCan editors have employed technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of three core processes: acquisitions, publishing, and marketing. In addition, literary journals are the venue for the creation of primary materials for literary research and analysis. Scholars, writers, and others in the public and private sectors who are interested in creative writing need better tools to search and retrieve primary materials. In this paper, I will also briefly review some of the innovations of LitCan's Knowledge Management Database and show how LitCan editors and scholars have contributed to the dissemination and retrieval of literary texts. This paper illustrates how LitCan facilitates the international reception of Canadian creative writing. LitCan offers a model not only for continued long-term collaboration between literary journals and literary academics to promote creative writing in Canada but also for national and international networks in other areas of publishing and other disciplines. In the humanities, it is crucial for scholars not only to find ways to incorporate but also to take a leading role in directing new technologies.
Keywords: Literature and Technology
Dr. Dee Horne
Associate Professor, English Department, University of Northern British Columbia