2020 has been a year of attention and of change for The (De)collected War of the Worlds. In January, I presented a paper related to the project within the context of serialization and digital humanities. In March, Dr. Amanda Visconti published a critical evaluation of the project in Reviews in Digital Humanities. In June, I introduced University of Florida undergraduate students in my course “Writing through Digital Media” to the digital tools I use in this project, and had them create mini (de)collection projects of their own using one or more tools of their choice.
Sadly, in August it was announced that the Juxta Commons site, which this project used to create text comparisons and histograms, would be shut down as of early September. To my knowledge, its sponsoring organization, Nineteenth-century Scholarship Online, has yet to announce a replacement tool. I am very grateful for the research that Juxta Commons allowed me to conduct and share, and I look forward to finding a way to recreate sharable results in the future, but for now I’ve had to update this site’s text comparison page to offer an MS Word document that shows textual differences using the Track Changes feature.
I am tentatively optimistic about the project’s prospects for 2021. I will be using The (De)collected War of the Worlds as a kind of textbook for my Spring 2021 course, “Voices of British Fin-de-Siècle Periodicals,” at my new home institution, the University of Scranton. In addition to having the class read Wells’s novel in its Pearson’s presentation, I plan to guide students in using digital tools to create their own (de)collections of late-Victorian periodical texts.
Change is the nature of the beast when it comes to digital humanities. I hope that The (De)collected War of the Worlds can ride out these changes and improve over time.