January 12, 2001
Orlando Project garners international acclaim
Co-investigators to deliver high-profile lecture at Oxford University
The University of Alberta research teamthat created the Orlando Project - the first full scholarly history of women’s writing in the British Isles - is being honoured internationally for the impact its work has made.
Drs. Isobel Grundy and Pat Clements, who with Susan Brown of the University of Guelph are the originators of the project, will deliver Oxford University’s annual D.F. McKenzie Lecture in Britain this spring. In his invitation, Michael Suarez of the McKenzie Trust said the English professors’ presence would be a great “boost not only to the bibliography/book history/sociology of texts but also to our burgeoning women’s studies program.”
“We believe the Orlando Project represents one of the most exciting developments in the production of knowledge and the dissemination of texts,” said Suarez, “not only because of its feminist agenda, but also because of its theoretical sophistication, technological accomplishment and intellectual rigor.”
The complete version of the Orlando Project will appear both as four individually authored volumes of history and as an extensive, collaboratively authored electronic text base. The account addresses issues raised by recent feminist thinkers and scholars of women’s writing and it draws on new research on women’s lives, their texts and the conditions under which they wrote.
The research team has also developed a new SGML (Standard Generalised Markup Language) application, which allows literary scholars to search the database according to chronology, biography, writing or events.
Collaboration is central to the project, said Clements. “Unusually for the humanities, we are working as an extended research team. The team includes a co-investigator, Dr. Susan Brown at Guelph University, Dr. Renée Elio of our Department of Computing Science and Dr. Allen Renear of Brown University.
“It also includes a systems architect, a post-doctoral fellow and seven or eight graduate students at any one time. The students emerge with special education not only in literary research but also with the use of new technologies to do the work of texts. This makes them much sought after by employers in various fields.”
She added that the research “could not be done without the team. This project is definitely not just about two or three people.” The Orlando Project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.