Department organizers envision a facility with a web server and eight or more networked computers that will enable students to access and submit course work on-line. The project also calls for the development of two new clusters of courses around the theme "literature and technology." The first of the new computers should be in place next month. "Our initiative is called 'Transcriptions: Literary History and the Culture of Information,' in short, because we are seeking to transcribe across the boundary between literary humanities and new information technology," explained William Warner, one of six faculty members participating in the project.
"Literature has always been enabled by information technologies and the cultural practices that allow such technologies to work. This project will further offer new means to understand both traditionally important writers and the changing forms of literature and its contexts in the age of electronic media." Under the leadership of project director Alan Liu, the department has already received a highly competitive "Teaching and Technology" grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is now seeking to raise an additional $15,000 to release an equivalent sum in matching funds set aside for the project by the agency.