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January 10, 2007
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

Women Writers Project Wins NEH Grant for Digital Scholarship

The Brown University Women Writers Project has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support its work of bringing early women’s writing out of the archives and into the electronic age.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Brown University Women Writers Project a $250,000 grant to support its research and work encoding early women’s literary documents. The Preservation and Access Education and Training Grant will help fund a series of workshops and seminars on the methods and issues of scholarly humanities text encoding.

With nearly two decades of experience and research, the Women Writers Project (WWP) is internationally known as a center of expertise in scholarly text encoding. Led by director Julia Flanders, the project has built an electronic collection of early women’s writings, covering a period from 1450 to 1850. With texts spanning genres from comic drama to midwives’ books, Women Writers Online presents a vivid cross-section of women’s writing and culture. The collection’s several hundred texts can be browsed, searched and analyzed online, thus providing access to rare materials by women that may otherwise go unread and untaught. The WWP is also involved in researching the complex issues involved in representing early printed texts in digital form.

“This grant from the National Endowment from the Humanities marks a real watershed for the Women Writers Project,” said Flanders. “Our work has always focused not just on making rare materials available, but also on thinking about how digital representation affects their use. We hope these workshops will engage a broader community of scholars in that discussion.”

The series of 12 workshops and seminars funded by the grant will provide humanities faculty and graduate students with a sense of the theoretical issues that connect text encoding with scholarly methods. Flanders, along with the WWP’s senior programmer and analyst Syd Bauman and electronic publications editor Paul Caton, will use materials such as rare books, manuscript letters, archival documents and early periodicals to explore the standards, challenges, history and central issues around text encoding. Participants will also receive ongoing consultation and assistance in developing new projects and designing curricular materials that use text encoding.

Workshops will be held across the United States at institutions including Stanford University, the University of Maryland, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Washington, and Texas A&M University.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

For more information about the Women Writers Project, visit

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