Analysis of the Collection

Elsa's Doodle on the

Students' essays

Below are links to each student's reflective essay on the group of poems he or she transcribed. The poems are listed alphabetically by title.

"Buddha" poems
by Bob Nolan
"Chill II:" poems
by Amy Isler
"Coronation" poems
by Christina Painton
"In the Midst" Poems
by Alice Ko
"Last Gesture" Essay 1
by Michelle Von Euw
"Last Gesture" Essay 2
by Michelle Von Euw
"Ostentations" Essay
by Jennifer Gavin
"Thistledownflight" poems
by Helen Lucille DeVinney

Literary Research and Critical Context –
The Starting Point of the Baroness Elsa Digital Library Project

The Baroness Elsa Digital Library may be seen as a successor to the editing project of English 601, which is one of two introductory courses for the English graduate program at the University of Maryland. Each student, assigned to work on the manuscripts of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, produced transcripts of an unpublished poem (including both a completed version as well as several drafts), an editorial note, and an analytical essay. Working from these transcripts, as well as scanned images of the original documents, members of the digital library project encoded multiple versions of each poem.

About English 601

English 601 is designed to provide graduate students with an introduction to research skills, as well as a conceptual basis for advanced scholarship. As a part of this course, Prof. Neil Fraistat (spring 2003) and Prof. William Sherman (fall 2003) assigned their students the poems of the Baroness Elsa as editorial training in textual works. There are two issues inherent in editing the Baroness Elsa collection. First, the collections manuscripts would provide editorial challenges resulting in the students gaining valuable editing skills. Second, there are no copyright problems involved since the collection belongs to the university. In addition, the professors anticipated the possibility of continuing projects (such as the current one) with the collection.

For this digitization project, the poems used came from Prof. Sherman's English 601 section. Both professors selected specific poems from the collection and assigned them to their students. This selection process eliminated certain types of poems, such as those particularly long in length or written in other languages. While Prof. Fraistat decided to assign only the published poems, Prof. Sherman chose to work on unpublished poems with multiple drafts. The students of English 601 faced many issues in the process of interpreting, transcribing, and editing the poems, which are discussed in their essays.

About LBSC 708Y

LBSC 708Y, "Creating Digital Repositories," is a graduate seminar at the College of Information Studies (CLIS) at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Baroness Elsa Digital Library was a course project designed to offer students actual "hands-on" training. Building on the editing undertaken by the students of English 601, the members of this project individually encoded one of seven poems; the students then created this digital library using the poems and complementary information.

Like the graduate students of English 601, each team member of this digital library project was assigned to work on one poem (consisting of several versions). Under the guidance of the instructor of this course, Dr. Susan Schreibman, then Assistant Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities and now Assistant Dean of Digital Collections and Research at the University of Maryland Libraries, each project member analyzed, considered, and implemented the best way of editing and encoding his or her specific poem. In addition, each member helped create the Web site that was to showcase the project. See "About Us" for more information.