Scholarship at Penn Libraries

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

July 2005


The word kaleidoscope comes from a Greek phrase meaning "to view a beautiful form," and this report makes the leap of faith that "all scholarship is beautiful" (Ayers 2005b). This review is divided into three major sections. Part I offers a sampling of the types of digital resources currently available or under development in support of American literature and identifies the prevailing concerns of specialists in the field as expressed during interviews conducted between July 2004 and May 2005. Part two of the report consolidates the results of these interviews with an exploration of resources currently available to illustrate, on the one hand, a kaleidoscope of differing attitudes and assessments, and, on the other, an underlying design that gives shape to the parts. Part three examines six categories of digital work in progress: (1) quality-controlled subject gateways, (2) author studies, (3) public domain e-book collections and alternative publishing models, (4) proprietary reference resources and full-text primary source collections, (5) collections by design, and (6) teaching applications. This survey is informed by a selective review of the recent literature, focusing especially on contributions from scholars that have appeared in discipline-based journals.


Copyright 2005 in compilation by the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Digital Library Federation. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transcribed in any form without permission of the publishers. Requests for reproduction or other uses or questions pertaining to permissions should be submitted in writing to the Director of Communications at the Council on Library and Information Resources.

NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Martha L. Brogan was an Independent Digital Library Researcher and Consultant. Currently June 2007, she is Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 06 June 2007