Stuart and I gave a presentation about Pathfinders on Friday, June 20, 2014 at the Electronic Literature Organization 2014 conference, held at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. In the audience were one of our Pathfinders authors, Bill Bly, as well as other pioneers of early digital literature whom Stuart and I have identified as the next ones we wish to preserve with our project. Questions raised by the audience are worth noting and commenting on here:
Jim Rosenberg expressed concerns about the way preservation tends toward “gatekeeping”––that is, privileging some works over others in choices of preservation. My response to Jim was that I would like to avoid what I call the “Sappho Syndrome”  and preserve everyone of the authors in my media library that I possibly can in my lifetime, but that Stuart and I had to begin somewhere. So, we worked hard to develop criteria that would help us select among the early authors in a reasonable way. One criteria, for example, involved gender equity. Stuart and I chose to preserve two women (Malloy, Jackson) and two men (Moulthrop, McDaid).
Stuart and I had to reiterate to the audience that we are not preserving works but rather the experience readers have with works of early digital literature. This approach distinguishes our project from the many that focus on emulation and migration and makes our project decidedly humanist since the focus is on people experiencing the work and not the object of their experience.
3. The Multimedia Book
4. Next Steps
With all of the data collected, videos in the process of being polished, and the book underway, my mind naturally turns to next steps. At the conference I spoke to Deena Larsen about preserving Marble Springs, to Jim Rosenberg about preserving Intergrams. Stuart and I have already spoken to MD Coverley about Califia and Stephanie Strickland about True North. Stuart and I will finalize plans in the coming months. In the meantime I am already setting the stage for preserving mobile electronic literature, or what I call “literary apps,” by decommissioning an early iPad that held many copies of e-lit works I have purchased or downloaded for free when they were first made available. The iPad has been disconnected from the internet and, so, will contain these early versions. I will continue to decommission other iPads that contain later versions of these works so that in some future time scholars can use this data to study these works on topics relating to platform studies, comparative literature, literary history, and literary biography.
 By “Sappho Syndrome” I mean the consequences of political, religious, and cultural forces upon the longevity and future accessibility of a work of art. I use Sappho, the ancient Greek poet from the 7th century AD, as a model because up until recently, only one extant poem by Sappho, “Hymn to Aphrodite,” has been available to us, despite the fact that we know that many more existed. We may never know why a larger body of complete work by Sappho did not survive when much more produced by other ancient Greek poets has. Some scholars theorize that political, religious, and cultural forces may have impacted the perceived value of her work, resulting in its loss. Certainly, Stuart and I seek to avoid selecting works based on political, religious and cultural criteria, which we see akin to censorship.