http://womenwriters.library.emory.edu/. The EWWRP began as a solo project fairly early in the era of electronic archive formation and it has encountered many of the challenges, as well as some of the successes, that shape such ventures. For example, the EWWRP became a collaborative effort almost immediately, due to limitations of funding and technical expertise. While collaborative undertakings still face opposition in the humanities during promotion and tenure decisions, they are essential in most digital endeavors. As the Berkeley report indicates, “Balancing the institutional need to evaluate an individual’s body of scholarship with the collaborative demands of grand challenge questions will only increase” (17). Particularly in the humanities, where collaborative scholarly endeavors tend to be viewed with suspicion, innovative scholarship is being hampered by evaluative mechanisms that have not kept pace with nontraditional models. This mistrust is unfortunate. As Christine L. Borgman notes, it is often true that “Collaborative projects attract more resources and more attention. If properly designed, they may also be more sustainable, creating platforms on which new projects can be constructed” (48).
(http://www.nines.org/). There is little indication, however, that typical departments and institutions of higher learning are responding adequately to this charge, despite the widespread recognition that traditional publishing venues can no longer support the ongoing needs of many scholarly communities. In my case, I never intended for the EWWRP to replace the second monograph commonly needed for promotion to full professor. This is fortunate, since I have never received any indication that this database or its large NEH grant played any role in the decision-making process when I was promoted. Many reports on current faculty assessment practices suggest that this response to digital scholarship is common and that scholars seeking tenure and/or promotion generally avoid such risky projects. For example, although the Berkeley study indicates that some (unnamed) humanities programs are beginning to welcome nontraditional scholarship, it also emphasizes the professional dangers still associated with such work:
7> Flanders interrupted her traditional graduate career in the English Department at Brown in order to work with the Brown Women Writers (BWW) database, then wrote her dissertation on related issues. Currently, such hybrid positions as she describes are appearing in some conventional departments, but the job descriptions of most faculty members do not yet accommodate the possibility of electronic scholarship, including archive building.
Flanders, Julia. Digital Humanities and the Politics of Scholarly Work. 2005.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. “Done: Finishing Projects in the Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. Volume 3.2: Spring 2009. Web.
Modern Language Association. Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Promotion and Tenure. December 2006.
NEH/NINES call for applications. Summer Institute: Evaluating Digital Scholarship.