Engl-GA.2957 - Topics in Lit Theory: Literary Archives and Web Development - Syllabus

Professor Deena Engel
Clinical Associate Professor
Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies for the CS Minors Programs
Department of Computer Science
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
251 Mercer Street, Room 422
New York, New York 10012
Tel.: 212-998-3131

Class time: Monday 6:00-7:30pm in 19 University Place, Room 229
Lab time: Tuesday 1-3pm in Multi-Media / Macintosh Classroom at the Washington Place Lab,( downstairs), 14 Washington Place

Course Structure

This course will consist of a weekly lecture and discussion format to cover concepts and to work through technical examples together in class. In addition, I will hold a weekly two-hour session in the ITS Multi-Media lab to be available to students individually as they work on their projects. Students are encouraged to ask questions specific to their level of expertise with respect to technology and to work on projects in their fields of interest in literature.

Course Materials

Textbooks and Reading Resources

Required Textbooks:

Electronic Textual Editing
Lou Burnard (Editor), Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe (Editor), John Unsworth (Editor)
Publisher: Modern Language Association of America (September 30, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0873529715; ISBN-13: 978-0873529716


HTML, XHTML & CSS (Visual QuickStart Guide Series)
Sixth Edition
by Elizabeth Castro
ISBN-10: 0321430840
ISBN-13: 978-0321430847

Optional Textbooks:

Dreamweaver CS5 for Windows and Macintosh:
Visual QuickStart Guide
by Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
ISBN-10: 032170357X; ISBN-13: 978-0321703576

Note: The XML book is also available on-line through the Bobst Library Safari Collection at http://proquestcombo.safaribooksonline.com/0596007647

XML in a Nutshell
by Elliotte Rusty Harold; W. Scott Means
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: September 2004
ISBN: 0-596-00764-7

On-Line Textbooks:

A Companion to Digital Humanities

A Companion to Digital Humanities
Ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth.
Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

A Companion to Digital Literary Studies

A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
Ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens
Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Book on reserve:

How to Build a Digital Library (see http://tinyurl.com/44jnln7)
Ian H. Witten (Author), David Bainbridge (Author), David M. Nichols (Author)
Morgan Kaufmann; 2 edition (October 21, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0123748577; ISBN-13: 978-0123748577

The above book is available both as hardcopy and as an e-book.


All of the software will be available in the ITS multi-media lab at no charge. Students who wish to work on their own machines might consider either 30-day trial versions of proprietary software (such as the Adobe products) or purchasing such software through the NYU Computer store or other venue to benefit from academic pricing. We will also discuss open source software options. In addition, every student will have an account on an ITS web server for posting all assignments and projects at no charge.

Literary Archival Materials

Students will work with literary archival materials from New York University's Fales Library and Special Collections. It will be the responsibility of students who wish to pursue further research on their primary source materials to discuss issues of copyright with our archivists and library staff.


The course is divided into four broad sections; each one building on the previous topic.

Course Requirements and Assignments

There will be numerous readings as well as three hands-on student projects required during the semester. All three projects will be posted to the students' websites. Students will each present his/her final project to the class at the end of the semester in lieu of a final exam.

The three student projects include:

  1. Build a website of several pages on the topic of an author and his/her works. (Technical requirements include xHTML, CSS and related skills.)
  2. Build a website to host individual pages of literature using TEI encoding. (Technical requirements include TEI/XML, CSS, xHTML and related skills e.g. Javascript and PHP tools to facilitate the development of the site.)
  3. Build an online literary archive which contains both narrative pages to contextualize the literature and a catalogue of images of specific pages and manuscripts along with meta-data, transcriptions (where appropriate), translations into modern English (where appropriate) and TEI-encoded versions of the manuscripts. (Technical requirements include creating and working with high-resolution images of primary source materials at Fales; building an XML data set and defining appropriate meta-data for the work(s) selected; as well as xHTML, CSS, and related tools as needed to build a working site.)