ELL opens as a reading room for scholars to engage with born-digital media collected by Grigar since 1991

  • May 29-June 1, 2008: "Early Authors of Electronic Literature: The Eastgate School, Voyager Artists, and Independent Productions" exhibition Grigar mounted for ELO '08 made her realize that a space for scholars to to access and experience electronic literature on legacy computers was needed
  • July 15, 2010: Grigar requests VCLS 210 as space for the Electronic Literature Lab
  • January 10, 2011: Grigar moves into ELL and sets up a reading room with her personal collection of electronic literature and 16 legacy computers
  • April 15, 2011: Anne Balsamo visits ELL and suggests ideas for its future use
  • April 2015: ELL moves to a more visible space, VMMC 211A
  • August 2019: ELL is given an exhibition case for showing its artifacts
  • December 2023: Deena Larsen donates 25 Macintoshes to ELL, bringing its number to 85


ELL expands its mission to include innovating the documentation methodology for electronic literature

  • April 9, 2013: With Anna Balsamo's and Stuart Moulthrop's support, Grigar and Moulthrop receive an NEH grant for Pathfinders
  • July 8-11, 2013: Pathfinders' Traversals start, with the first by Mouthrop held in ELL
  • August 7-10, 2013: John McDaid's Traversal at ELL
  • September 6-8, 2013: Judy Malloy's Traversal is held at Princeton University
  • October 17-20, 2013: Shelley Jackson's Traversal held at ELL
  • January 30-February 2, 2014: Bill Bly's Traversal is held at MITH with support from Matt Kirschenbaum
  • June 1, 2015: Pathfinders multimedia "Scalar" book is published
  • June 4, 2015: Grigar and Moulthrop sign the contract for Traversals with The MIT Press
  • April 2017: The MIT Press releases Traversals
  • 2018-2021: ELL continues to hold Traversals and publishing results in Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volumes 1-5


ELL becomes involved in archiving and making born-digital art, literature, and games accessible to the public

  • December 2016: ELL begins to manage archives belonging to the trAce Online Writing Center, with support by Sue Thomas; and Turbulence.org, with support by Helen Thorington and Jo-Anne Green
  • May 2018: Grigar and her team is awarded a seed grant from The Alfred W. Mellon Foundation to build a repository to hold the archives
  • December 30, 2019: The "Electronic Literature Repository" (ELR) goes live with seven collections: trAce, Turbulence, Alan Bigelow, Stephanie Strickland, Marjorie C. Luesebrink, N. Katherine Hayles, and David Kolb
  • May 6, 2020: ELR is re-envisioned as a museum and library called The NEXT, built with open Web languages by graduating seniors in the Creative Media & Digital Culture program
  • 2021: ELL team members Holly Slocum and Greg Philbrook rebuild The NEXT with Semantic Markup and ARIA and continue to innovate design
  • 2022: ELL is given the 2022 Open Scholarship Award by The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute for The NEXT
  • 2024: Grigar is awarded a grant from WSU Vancouver to make The NEXT's Visualization space accessible as a Virtual Reality experience


ELL begins to restore and conserve born-digital art, literature, and games held in the archives it manages to ensure outmoded works are accessible to the public

  • 2019: ELL restores Deena Larsen's "Kanji-Kus"
  • 2020: ELL picks up its first conservation project: Annie Grosshan's The World Is Not Done Yet; it also begins to preserve Flash works with Ruffle
  • 2021: ELL works with CMDC graduating seniors to translate Thomas Disch's Amnesia, for the Web, calling the project Amnesia Restored; the ELL Team conserves Richard Holeton's hypertext novel, Figurski at Findhorn on Acid
  • 2022: ELL builds David's Kolb's "Caged Text," which had remained unfinished since 1997; its also leads a team of CMDC seniors to translate Sarah Smith's King of Space for the Web and conserves Stuart Moulthrop's hypertext novel, Victory Garden
  • 2023: ELL conserves Bill Bly's We Descend and leads CMDC seniors in conserving John McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse
  • 2024: In the spring ELL begins work on conserving Christy Sanford's "Red Mona;" it also oversees the work of its Undergraduate Researcher, James Lesperance, to develop a NetProv engine aimed at documenting Rob Wittig's corpus, a project funded by WSU Vancovuer's Undergraduate Research Fellow Award


ELL innovates metadata for born-digital media that are interactive, participatory, and experential

  • May 2020: ELL creates ELMS 1.0 by extending the MODS schema extended with the controlled vocabularies developed by The CELL Project
  • 2022: ELL updates the metadata schema to include more descriptive controlled vocabularies and additional fields, calling this version, ELMS 2.0
  • October 9-13, 2022: Grigar and ELL's Associate Director Richard Snyder participate in Triangle SCI 2022 to develop controlled vocabularies, a project resulting in ELMS 3.0
  • June 2023: Grigar and Snyder are awarded a grant from the Society of American Archivists to test and implement ELMS 3.0 to 30 works in The NEXT
  • January 2024: Grigar submits a proposal for a Level III Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund the implementation of ELMS 3.0 to all works in The NEXT


ELL is given more space and re-organized into three rooms: Reading Room, Archives Room, and The Studio

  • April 11, 2024: ELL is given VMMC 202G as an Archives Room and renames the MOVE Lab, where it has held Live Traversals, as The Studio
  • January 3, 2024: Grigar and Co-PI Frode Hegland are awarded a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to experiment with academic reading and writing in XR environments
  • April 19, 2024: 89 boxes of archives ELL has been holding in the Reading Room are moved into Archives Room