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Track Changes

Track Changes: Textual scholarship and the challenge of digital literary writing wants to apply new methods, including keystroke logging, to gain insight into the literary writing process of today, which largely takes place on the computer.

What traces does this digital work process leave behind, and how can we use modern techniques to document and analyse the writing process?

This project brings together digital humanities, cognitive writing process research and textual scholarship. Textual scholarship has a rich tradition, which has yielded many insights into the working methods of ‘analogue’ writers from the past. Cognitive writing process research contributes insights and methods that are based on experimental data, including the ‘live’ recording of the digital writing process. We want to discover where and how the writing processes of contemporary authors fit within the framework of the textual genetic tradition, and where we need new models and frameworks.

In our pilot project (Het Literaire Werk 2.0), differences have already been found between ‘online writers’ and ‘offline writers’ and ‘paper’ and ‘screen’ writers. And although the vast majority of authors work in Word, some are highly innovative in their chosen software and in the way they shape their work process. We are going to analyse the texts that are created in this way using methods from the digital humanities. Because in the end we translate insights from the writing process research into an analysis of the literary texts themselves.

The project team consists of Karina van Dalen-Oskam, Peter de Bruijn, Peter Kegel and two PhD students: Lamyk Bekius and Floor Buschenhenke. Dirk van Hulle, Vincent Neijt (both from the Centre for Manucript Genetics), Mariëlle Leijten and Luuk van Waes (both from Writing and Professional Communication) form the Antwerp part of the team.

Track Changes is financed by the Humanities Free Competition of the NWO. The project is a collaboration between Huygens ING and the University of Antwerp. The duration is five years, from 2018-2023.