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Telling Untold Stories: Digital Textual Recovery Methods


As digital environments are increasingly being subsumed by corporations, the digital cultural memory of humanity is in danger of becoming a product of corporate interests. Yet, within Digital Humanities, a long-standing tradition of digital editing emphasizes the need to recover and represent the work of writers outside of the dominant cultures of the Global North. This chapter discusses the development of The Harlem Shadows Project, a critical digital edition of Claude McKay’s poetry. Contextualizing this work as digital textual recovery, it discusses using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines for digitized texts, describes the process of developing the edition, considers alternatives to TEI, and offers guidance for those who want to begin building a critical digital edition.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-96713-4_17
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    Roopika Risam, “Other Worlds, Other DHs: Notes Towards a DH Accent,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 32, no. 2 (2017): 380.

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    Amy Earhart, Traces of the Old, Uses of the New: The Emergence of Digital Literary Studies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015), 65.

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    Ibid., 77.

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    “TEI: Text Encoding Initiative,” Text Encoding Initiative, last modified July 19, 2016,

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    Chris Forster, “Public Domain Editions,” Chris Forster, last modified June 21, 2012,

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    “TEI: Text Encoding Initiative.”

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    Amardeep Singh and Ed Whitely, “Harlem Echoes,” last modified November 11, 2016,

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    Edward Vanhoutte, “Every Reader His Own Bibliographer—An Absurdity?,” in Text Editing, Print and Digital World, eds. Kathryn Sutherland and Marilyn Deegan (London: Routledge, 2016), 100.

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    Walter G. Whitman, “Glimpses of Life in China,” Excerpt, Digital Salem, accessed July 17, 2017,


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Correspondence to Roopika Risam .

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Risam, R. (2018). Telling Untold Stories: Digital Textual Recovery Methods. In: levenberg, l., Neilson, T., Rheams, D. (eds) Research Methods for the Digital Humanities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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