Monday, July 21, 2008

Forum Literary Journal Available in Digital Form

by John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections

One of the great benefits generated by the conversion of analog objects to digital resources is the potential for rediscovery of these resources by a new generation (the digital generation) of students, faculty, and other researchers.

Materials that may have been sitting quietly on library shelves and in archives boxes, occasionally being consulted by a student or scholar, will suddenly find a larger audience of possible users when the objects become digital and are globally accessible through a product like the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, a project of the University Libraries.

Recent examples of this potential for digital rejuvenation of past publications through the Digital Media Repository include The Steinbeck Quarterly, The Muncie Post-Democrat newspaper, and Physical Culture Magazine. The digitization of these resources has generated new research requests from around the world.Now another Ball State publication from the past has been rejuvenated as a digital resource for teaching, learning, and research. The Forum literary journal is available in the Digital Media Repository at

The Forum (also known as the Ball State University Forum) is a literary quarterly published by the Department of English at Ball State University from 1960 to 1989. It presented a wide variety of works including essays, short stories, one-act plays, and poetry submitted by writers from around the country and the world.

Submissions to the journal were all refereed, originally by Ball State faculty and then later by scholars from other universities and by members of a research team at the Smithsonian Museum. Renowned author Jesse H. Stuart was a frequent contributor in the 1970s.
Frances Mayhew Rippy, Department of English, and Merrill Rippy, Department of History, were the founders of the Ball State University Forum. When Merrill Rippy passed away, Dick Renner, Department of English, joined Frances Rippy as co-editor. Bruce W. Hozeski, Department of English, followed Renner as Rippy’s co-editor and also served as managing editor.

Speaking of the new digital version of the journal, Professor Hozeski said, “I am so pleased that the wealth of research and award winning creative writing in the journal are once again available to researchers and readers. Indeed, the material is now available to the whole world, which is a much larger audience than the printed copies reached. Modern technology can and does make the sharing of scholarship and creative work easier!” By digitally rejuvenating past publications like the Forum, the Digital Media Repository is a productive way to share scholarship and creative work with a global audience.

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