Alan Galey

Associate Professor
Faculty of Information
Book History Program
  Howe Sound, British Columbia, looking south from the peak of Mount Wrottesley. Photo by Matt Van Wollen.

Bio

Teaching

Research

Digital projects & blogs

Conferences & lectures

Full cv

Contact:

alan.galey [at] utoronto [dot] ca

Alan Galey
Faculty of Information
140 St George St.
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3G6

Please note: I will be on sabbatical until July 2015, and will be limiting my availability to focus on my two ongoing research projects, The Veil of Code and Visualizing Variation. During this period my correspondence will be limited to current graduate student supervision, to matters related to my ongoing research and publication projects, and to a very few professional commitments that will continue through my sabbatical (SHARP 2015, The Folger Shakespeare Library, ArchBook, and the New Variorum Shakespeare). Thank you for understanding.

Bio 

Alan Galey is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, where he also teaches in the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. His research focuses on intersections between textual scholarship and digital technologies, especially in the context of theories of the archive and the history of new media prototyping and experimentation (print, digital, and otherwise). He has published on these topics in journals such as Book History, Shakespeare Quarterly, Literary and Linguistic Computing, College Literature, and Archival Science, and has co-edited the book collection Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book: Contested Scriptures (with Travis DeCook; Routledge, 2011). His article "The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination," published in Book History in 2012, was awarded the Fredson Bowers Prize by the Society for Textual Scholarship. He was also given the Outstanding Instructor Award by the Master of Information Student Council for 2013-2014. His first monograph book, The Shakespearean Archive: Experiments in New Media from the Renaissance to Postmodernity, was published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press.

He holds a Connaught New Researcher Grant from the University of Toronto for an online project called Visualizing Variation (see below under Research), and from 2009 to 2013 held a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for a project called Archive and interface in Digital Textual Studies. He is also co-editor of the digital book history project Architectures of the Book (archbook.ca).

He has presented papers linking textual scholarship, book history, and digital technology at the conferences of the Modern Language Association, the Society for Textual Scholarship, the Shakespeare Association of America, the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, the Society for Digital Humanities/Société pour l'étude des médias interactifs, the Renaissance Society of America, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, and the University of Edinburgh's Centre for the History of the Book (Material Cultures 2010). He has also given invited lectures at Texas A&M University, Northwestern University, Loyola University, Yale University, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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Teaching

Books 1001H: Introduction to Book History

A one-term graduate course, primarily for students in the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture, introducing foundational concepts in book history, bibliography, editorial theory and practice, the sociology of texts, book production from manuscript through print to digital text, and the history of reading. Combines seminar discussions of key topics and case studies in book history with field trips to the Fisher Rare Book Library, Massey College Press, and Coach House Press. (Previously Books 1001 and its companion course, Books 1001, were taught as a single year-long course, Books 1000Y: Book History and Print Culture.)

BKS 1002H: Book History in Practice

This is one of the core courses for students in the Book History and Print Culture collaborative program, and serves as a follow-up to BKS 1001H: Introduction to Book History. The course consists of seminars on key topics in book history, punctuated by case studies of particular books, events, and debates. These case studies are designed to pull together ongoing threads of inquiry from the readings, and to allow students to work outward from specific artifacts to general questions. Students gain a detailed understanding of current topics in the field of book history, and how to situate their own research within ongoing debates. Topics for 2013 may include challenges to the idea of print culture, the book as imagined from the past, databases, orality and literacy, archives, paratextuality, authorship, and book history in the mainstream media. Case studies may include Charles Darwin, the Treaty of Waitangi, the Walt Whitman Archive, Joyce's Ulysses, the Penguin/Random House merger, and the New York Public Library's Central Branch redesign.

INF 2331H: The Future of the Book

A new graduate course I've developed for the Faculty of Information. This course considers the history and possible futures of books in a digital world. In this course "the book" is interpreted broadly, meaning not just an object with covers and pages, but also an evolving metaphor for conceptual frameworks for knowledge, and a metonym that brings together many different technologies, institutions, and cultural practices. The course introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches such as book history, textual studies, history of reading, and digital humanities, with an emphasis on balancing theoretical speculation with practical implementation. Readings will survey topics such as the ontology of born-digital artifacts, critical assessment of digitization projects, collaborative knowledge work, reading devices (old and new), e-book interface design, text/image/multimedia relationships, theories and practices of markup, the gendering of technologies, the politics of digital archiving, the materiality of texts, and the epistemology of digital tools. Students will also receive a practical introduction to XML markup and visualization tools.

INF 1240H: Research Methods

This course introduces students to a number of research methods useful for academic and professional investigations of information practices, texts and technologies. By examining the applications, strengths and major criticisms of methodologies drawn from both the qualitative and quantitative traditions, this course permits an understanding of the various decisions and steps involved in crafting (and executing) a research methodology, as well as a critically informed assessment of published research. The course offers an overview of the different approaches, considerations and challenges involved in information research. In addition to reviewing core human research methods such as interviews, ethnographies, surveys and experiments, we will explore methods used in critical analysis of texts and technologies (discourse/content/design analysis, historical case studies), with an emphasis on a holistic approach to research methods, connecting design and dissemination. We will also discuss mixed method approaches, case studies, participatory and user-centered research, as well as research methods from the humanities.

INF 1005/6H: Information Workshop (topic: Architectures of the Book)

This 6-week workshop is one of the core courses in our Master of Information degree program. All students spend 6 weeks in one workshop, followed by 6 more weeks in another to make up a complete course. Project-related Information Workshop topics range from health information in the age of "free," to virtual worlds and avatars, to the docx file format, to the history of universal libraries. The workshop I have offered since 2010, titled "Architectures of the Book," introduces students to the complexities of representing print and manuscript books digitally. We explore aspects of textuality from throughout the history of the book that present challenges for digital representation: possible subtopics include paratexts, mise-en-page, variant texts, marginalia, and the relation between text and image. Combining the study of book history, bibliography, text encoding, and visualization, we focus on eXtensible Markup Language (XML) encoding not simply as the application of a technical skill or technology to a problem, but rather as an intellectual exercise that makes a virtue of the constraints of digital representation. This course is based on the Architectures of the Book project.

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Research
As sole author of publications unless otherwise noted

Archive and Interface in Digital Textual Studies:
From Cultural History to Critical Design

This project was supported by a four-year SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2009-2013, and has two types of outputs: several scholarly articles plus a monograph titled The Shakespearean Archive; and an open-source code library of prototype interface components titled Visualizing Variation.

Digital archives and interfaces significantly complicate how textual scholars read and represent human traces in texts. Textual scholars are now reckoning with a deepening separation of material form from idealized content in our tools at the very moment when literary critics have established the materiality of texts to be indispensable to interpretation. As digital textual studies takes shape as a field, it finds itself caught between these divergent trends in computational practice and cultural theory. This study responds to that problem by investigating the cultural history of the archive in scholarly editing, and by building an online library of interface components designed to be part of that cultural history. A detailed project description is available here, and publications resulting from the project are listed below.

  • Visualizing Variation: an open-source code library of prototype interface components for digital scholarly editing and visualization
  • The Shakespearean Archive: Experiments in New Media from the Renaissance to Postmodernity (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

    The Shakespearean Archive explores the entwined histories of Shakespeare’s texts and technologies of cultural memory over the past four centuries, and asks why we find Shakespeare so often associated with new media and with the idea of archiving itself. In a sequence of chapters dealing with the archive, the book, photography, sound, information, and databases, this book explores how the inherited texts of Shakespeare’s works became prototypical material for publishing experiments, new media projects, and tech demos, as well as for theories of information and computing from the seventeenth century to the present. Rather than taking current forms of computing to be the result of technical forces beyond the scope of humanist inquiry, this book offers a critical prehistory of digitization read through the afterlives of Shakespeare’s texts, examined from a perspective that combines elements of book history, media archaeology, and cultural history.

  • Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book: Contested Scriptures (co-edited with Travis DeCook; Routledge, 2011)

    Why do Shakespeare and the English Bible seem to have an inherent relationship with each other? How have these two monumental traditions in the history of the book functioned as mutually reinforcing sources of cultural authority? How do material books and related reading practices serve as specific sites of intersection between these two textual traditions? This collection makes a significant intervention in our understanding of Shakespeare, the Bible, and the role of textual materiality in the construction of cultural authority. Departing from conventional source study, it questions the often naturalized links between the Shakespearean and biblical corpora, examining instead the historically contingent ways these links have been forged. The volume brings together leading scholars in Shakespeare, book history, and the Bible as literature, whose essays converge on the question of Scripture as source versus Scripture as process—whether that scripture is biblical or Shakespearean—and in turn explore themes such as cultural authority, pedagogy, secularism, textual scholarship, and the materiality of texts. Covering an historical span from Shakespeare’s post-Reformation era to present-day Northern Ireland, the volume uncovers how Shakespeare and the Bible’s intertwined histories illuminate the enduring tensions between materiality and transcendence in the history of the book.

    In addition to co-editing, I co-wrote the introduction and contributed a chapter titled "The Tablets of the Law: Reading Hamlet with Scriptural Technologies."
  • "Digital Archives and Their Margins." Panel co-organized with Katherine Harris (San José State U) for the Modern Language Association conference in Boston, January 2013. Detailed description and abstracts available here.
  • "The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination." Book History 15 (2012): 210-47.
  • "Reading the Book of Mozilla: Web Browsers and the Materiality of Digital Texts." The History of Reading, Vol. 3: Methods, Strategies, Tactics. Ed. Rosalind Crone and Shafquat Towheed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 196-214.
  • "Networks of Deep Impression: Shakespeare and the History of Information." Shakespeare and New Media, ed. Katherine Rowe. Special issue of Shakespeare Quarterly 61.3 (2010). 289-312.

  • "Mechanick Exercises: The Question of Technical Competence in Digital Scholarly Editing." Electronic Publishing: Politics and Pragmatics. Ed. Gabriel Egan. Toronto & Tempe, AZ: Iter/Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2010. 81–101.

    • full chapter in PDF (Note: at the publisher's request, copying and printing permissions are not enabled on this file)
  • "The Human Presence in Digital Artifacts." Text and Genre in Reconstruction: Effects of Digitalization on Ideas, Behaviours, Products, and Institutions. Ed. Willard McCarty. Oxford: Open Book, 2010. 93-117.

Other publications
  • Alan Galey, Jon Bath, Rebecca Niles, and Richard Cunningham. "Imagining the Architectures of the Book: Textual Scholarship and the Digital Book Arts." Textual Cultures 7.2 (2012): 20-42.
  • Wendy Duff, Emily Monks-Leeson, and Alan Galey. "Contexts Built and Found: A Pilot Study on the Process of Archival Meaning-Making." Archival Science 12.1 (2012): 69-92.

  • Alan Galey, Richard Cunningham, Brent Nelson, Ray Siemens, and Paul Werstine. "Beyond Remediation: The Role of Textual Studies in Implementing New Knowledge Environments." Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture. Ed. Brent Nelson and Melissa Terras. Toronto & Tempe, AZ: Iter/Arizona Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012. 21-48.
  • Alan Galey and Stan Ruecker. "How a Prototype Argues." Literary and Linguistic Computing 24.5 (2010): 405-24.
  • "Signal to Noise: Designing a Digital Edition of The Taming of a Shrew (1594)." Shakespeare and Information Technology, ed. Patrick Finn. Special issue of College Literature 36.1 (2009): <http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca. myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/94116> (may require authorized access).
  • "'Let me be satisfied, is't good or bad?': Re-evaluating the First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet." Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 245.2 (2008): 272-87.
  • Alan Galey and Ray Siemens, ed. Reinventing Digital Shakespeare. Special issue of Shakespeare 4.3 (2008). <http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content= g902019645> (may require authorized access)
  • Alan Galey and Patrick Finn, ed. Digital Humanities and the Networked Citizen. Special issue of TEXT Technology 15.1 (2007): http:/ /texttechnology.mcmaster.ca/current_content.html
  • "Dizzying the Arithmetic of Memory: Shakespearean Documents as Text, Image, and Code." Monitoring Electronic Shakespeares, ed. Michael Best and Eric Rasmussen. Special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies 9.3 (2004): <http://purl.oclc. org/emls/09-3/galedizz.htm>.

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Projects and blogs

Visualizing Variation

An open-source code library of prototype interface components for digital scholarly editing and visualization, one of the outputs of my SSHRC Standard Research Grant project, Archive and Interface in Digital Textual Studies (see above).

Architectures of the Book

ArchBook is a reference resource for textual features that serve as intersections between the material form and information architecture of books.

The Floating Academy: A Victorian Studies Blog

In another life I might have been a Victorianist...

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Selected conference presentations and invited lectures

  • "The Bibliographic Study of Born-Digital Texts." Joint keynote address for the conferences of the Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC) and the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture (CASBC), CFHSS Congress, St Catherine’s, ON, 27 May 2014.
  • "The Veil of Code: Born-Digital Texts and Future Prospects for Digital Textual Scholarship." Society for Textual Scholarship Conference, University of Washington, Seattle, 21 March 2014.
  • "Books of Futures Past: Book History's Intersections with New Media." Keynote address for the Book History and Print Culture Program's gradute student conference. University of Toronto, 5 April 2013.
  • "Fahrenheit 2,570: Ray Bradbury and the Dangerous Materiality of Books." Public lecture co-sponsored by the Toronto Public Library's "Keep Toronto Reading" Festival. University College, University of Toronto, 4 April 2013.
  • "Variant Stories: Digital Visualization and the Secret Lives of Shakespeare’s Texts." Modern Language Association conference, Boston, January 2013.
  • "Digital Archives and Their Margins." Panel co-organized with Katherine Harris (San José State U) for the Modern Language Association conference in Boston, January 2013. Detailed description and abstracts available here.
  • "The New Media Prototype as Scholarly Genre: Past, Present, and Future." Society for Textual Scholarship Conference, Austin, 31 May - 2 June 2012.
  • "Visualizing Variation in Premodern Books: The Case for Small Projects." The Past Has Arrived: The Digital Middle Ages and Renaissance. New York University, 13 April 2012.
  • "Approaching the Coasts of Utopia: Visualization Strategies for Mapping Early Modern Paratexts." Digital Humanities 2011, Stanford University, 20 June 2011.
  • (with Jon Bath) "Imagining the Architectures of the Book: Historical Perspectives on E-Book Design." Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture (CASBC) Annual Conference, CFHSS Congress, Fredericton, NB, 1 June 2011.
  • "The Shakespearean Archive: Critical Prehistories of Digital Editing." Shakespeare Association of America 39th Annual Meeting, Bellevue, WA, 9 April 2011.
  • "The Enkindling Reciter: Performing Reading and Concealing Texts in the E-book Demo." Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Los Angeles, 6 January 2011.
  • "Gutenberg Again?". Plenary roundtable with Jerome McGann and Kathryn Sutherland, moderated by Bill Bell. Material Cultures Conference, Edinburgh, 18 July 2010.
  • "Architectures of the Book: Connecting Exemplars, Models, and Prototypes in the Development of New Reading Environments." Material Cultures Conference, Edinburgh, 16 July.
  • "Prehistories of Digitization and the Afterlives of Books." Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 14 December 2010.
  • "The Sense of Reckoning: Quantification versus Materiality in Digital Shakespeare Studies." The Future of Shakespeare's Text(s). Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. Loyola University, Chicago. 7 October 2009.
  • "Reading the Book of Mozilla: Web Browsers and the Materiality of Digital Texts." Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) Annual Conference. Toronto. 25 June 2009.
  • "Mechanick Exercises: Shakespeare Editing and Born-Digital Texts." New Directions in Editing: Papers in Honor of Barbara Mowat, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, 29 May 2009.

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