General:Carole Gerson



User Story Creator Identification

This is optional. Provide if you are comfortable doing so.

Name: Carole Gerson


Tell us something about your level of study and the type of institutional appointment you hold. 
Choose any of the terms below that apply to you:
* undergrad
* grad
* part-time instructor
* pre-tenure faculty member
* tenured faculty member
* archivist-librarian
* independent scholar
* creative practitioner
* interested citizen

Role: faculty

Institution: SFU

Field of Study/Creative Endeavor:


Please write a paragraph about your persona as a researcher: your position, your discipline, your general research interests, 
and the extent to which you use computers in your research. 
You may wish to mention particular tools that you use with some regularity.


Please provide a short description of the larger project from which this story emerges.

Canadian Women Writers Database


Comments for U of A: Carole Gerson, 30 April 2010.
My bio-bibliographical “Early Canadian Women Writers Database” contains over 470 records on women writers who were Canadian (applying the term loosely) and issued a book or pamphlet (i.e. something catalogueable) of fiction or poetry before 1940. For some, there is almost no information; for others, like Dorothy Livesay, there is way too much. The information was originally compiled by using mostly print resources, supplemented by whatever digital sources had become available by 2002. InMagic was the database program, and in 2002 the whole thing was mounted on SFU’s BRS system. As an Open Source document, it has been directly linked to the web resources of many university and other libraries (LAC, Queen’s, Lakehead, McMaster, MIT, Guelph, Waterloo, U of Maryland, Vankleek Hill & District Historical Society, Ottawa, Mt. Allison, etc). Now is the time to correct, edit and expand this resource. On the technical side, SFU is going to migrate its delivery platform to CONTENTdm, which will enhance my ability to make the needed changes.
The question is what changes should be made in terms of (A) the scope of the database, and (B) the treatment of the material. With regard to scope: Obviously, the timeframe should be extended past 1940. The genres that qualify a writer for inclusion should be expanded to include drama and non-fiction as well as poetry and fiction. What about writers who published only in periodicals, or issued plays as typescripts, and did not produce separate books or monographs? What about writers who didn’t actually publish their letters, diaries, or whatever? What about genres such as journalism that are not usually regarded as literary? Is it possible to include writers in languages other than English? My current list of 470 names will quickly expand to thousands. With regard to treatment of the material: How should it now be modified – should it be given the full Orlando? In February, Isobel Grundy Orlandized 4 samples for me – two very obscure writers (Ann Boyd and Muriel Frances Watson), and two who are well-known (Florence Randal Livesay and Dorothy Livesay). The results revealed how much the Orlando model could enhance my information by instituting better verification controls (both biographical and bibliographical), by defining additional information to be sought, and by introducing more complex ways of marking it so as to present a much richer picture of writers’ lives and works. There are some big questions to be resolved: How much should I (can I) take on, using my CFI funds (when they become available)? How much can be left to others who may have projects (on women dramatists, for example) that can be folded in? If other researchers are contributing to the database, how do we maintain standards of reliability and consistency? There is something to be said for posting “raw” resources, such as the Canadian Book Trade Bibliography now on the SFU library site, where one learns to deal with duplication, misspellings, and other casual errors etc. But women writers’ lives are already sufficiently complicated by such basic matters as changes to their names, without introducing further confusion. These protocols will have to be confirmed soon.

How broadly do the practices described in this story apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?
* broadly applicable
* shared by some
* shared by few or none


Does your story describe current research activities that you think CWRC will enhance (present), 
or future research possibilities that you can only dream of now? (future)


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories. 
Use as many of the ones listed below as relevant or provide your own.
* Aggregate
* Annotate
* Consider
* Discover
* Interact
* Publish
* Archive/Preserve
* Share
* Visualize
* Map
* Historicize
* Edit
* Network
* Collaborate
* Integrated History of Women's Writing in Canada
* Orlando


Are there parts of the story that relate to other CWRC stories? 
Please provide title(s) and link to the relevant story page.

Related Stories:

Are there tools that do some of the sorts of things you'd like to see in CWRC? 
If so, what are they?

Related Tools: