Electronic Literature and Online Literary Databases. The PO.EX and ELMCIP Cases
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This essay reflects on the shift of user interaction operated by online literary archives and databases. One can easily recognize a change of scenery happening in the current networked world, given the way authors and general public produce, catalog, tag, access, research, analyze, preserve and share knowledge. In the field of electronic literature, the creation of several collaborative and open access databases attests this trend. For this purpose, I review two of them: the PO.EX Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature and the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base. My aim is to contribute to an informed view on how these online literary databases are shaped and are shaping the field: What is their scope? How do they operate? What kind of navigation and user input exists? Why should they really matter? Finally, I use these insights to develop some considerations concerning the relations between memory and archive, and different perspectives on electronic literature preservation.