In his essay "The Electronic Word: Literary Study and the Digital Revolution," Richard Lanham (1993) imagined a future where academics working in English departments benefit both as readers and as writers of electronically published scholarship. Lanham wrote that all of the "fuss" of scholarly publishing "could be avoided if scholarly journals were 'published' as on-line databanks upon which individual scholars could draw at will." Delays could be avoided and the costs of printing, distributing, and storing academic publications could be dramatically reduced. "And new informational opportunities would arise. We could update our own articles as we wanted to, and those revisions would be immediately available to the scholarly community. We could choose to include, as part of our work, subsequent comments upon it--either champagne or, for stout hearts, hemlock, or both" (p. 21).

The speed of technology in general and all things related to the Internet in particular makes it easy for us to forget that Lanham's vision of the future must have been seen by his colleagues as fanciful, or, more likely, heresy. While I am quoting from his 1993 book The Electronic Word, the article first appeared in the Winter 1989 issue of New Literary History, a time when the connection between computers and English seemed to most a little far-fetched. There was scholarly work about the use of computers to teach writing, but much of that early scholarship was at the time not seen by many in English departments as real scholarship, and it also, of course, appeared in print. In 1989, the beginnings of the World Wide Web were still at least four years away for even the cutting edge computer enthusiast, and it was still considered unusual to have an electronic mail address. Few people outside of academia (indeed, many academics within it) had even heard of the growing computer network that would become known as the Internet. By 1989, I had completed my undergraduate degree and was into graduate studies, and I distinctly remember many of my professors not having computers in their offices, and many of my graduate school colleagues and students in my first-year writing classes never having used a word processing program.

In one sense, Lanham's futuristic vision has come to pass in the form of electronically published journals such as the one you are reading now. By virtue of its presence as a Web site, online journals are inexpensive to produce and store, and few types of texts are more immediately available. But there is still debate in the academic community about the value of electronic scholarship, especially as relative to more traditional print scholarship. Online publications are currently not seen by many English studies scholars as being as worthy as the more tactile publications that appear in paper journals and books.

But increasingly, the only significant difference between online journals and their more traditional counterparts is the medium. Online publications often adopt traditional standards regarding peer review and editorial policies, and the articles they are publishing (while often hypertextual) are static in the sense that writers are typically not going back to make changes or include comments from readers. Online journals are cataloged by libraries and indexed in places like the MLA International Bibliography, and they are usually published on some sort of routine schedule (monthly, quarterly, etc.) as if subscribers were expecting to see what they paid for to appear in their mailboxes. While there might be questions about the quality of some electronic journals (just as we still question the quality of some print publications), few of us in English studies nowadays would label articles published in these places as not counting as scholarship for the purposes of tenure and review. The CCCC Position Statement on "Promotion and Tenure Guidelines for Work with Technology," a document I discuss later in this essay, seems to confirm this (Selfe, 2002). There were differences of opinion about the value of tenure-seeking faculty engaging in certain technology work, but almost all of the participants agreed that it was peer review, not the medium of publication, that was most important.

This suggests that at least a portion of Lanham's vision has been realized in electronically published journals, and the logic of electronic publication remains the same: as printing costs increase and the funding mechanisms for academic publishing decrease, it seems inevitable that more scholarly journals--perhaps most scholarly journals--will go digital.

But in another sense, the academic community still hasn't embraced one of the primary potentials electronic publishing, where writers can skip the traditional apparatus of print journals entirely and self-publish their texts on the web. As Nicholas Burbules points out in his article "Web Publishing and Educational Scholarship" (2002), contemporary word processing software can make creating a Web site as easy as writing something, converting it into an HTML document, and saving it to a computer set up as a server: "The very distinction of writing versus publishing breaks down when any electronic document, as soon as it is written and saved on a networked computer, is thereby instantly published" (p. 276).

Prior to the web, it was easy to determine what should or shouldn't count as scholarship: if it appeared as an article in a peer-reviewed journal or if it was published as a book by a respectable press, it was by definition scholarship both in the abstract sense of advancing knowledge and in the tangible sense of being worthy to count toward tenure, review, merit, and so forth. Self-publishing simply wasn't a logical alternative. But the Web makes self-publishing scholarship not only possible but for certain purposes desirable. Web writers/publishers can quite literally skip much of the fuss of academic publishing (as Lanham put it), skipping much of the traditional so-called gatekeeping apparatus to reach readers quickly and directly. Their texts can be easily corrected, updated, and changed, and authors can literally enter into a dialogue with readers and other writers who offer suggestions and comments.

This new form of scholarship problematizes the notion of what scholarship is in the sense that it both stretches the boundaries of advancing knowledge and of what should count in an academic career. I believe self-published Web sites have the potential to rise to the level of Scholarship (with a capital S) in the abstract sense of advancing knowledge in a dynamic, evolving, and exciting way, and I believe these sites should be rewarded by institutions as scholarship (with a small s) in the more pragmatic and tangible sense of how they count on a CV. The question is how, since, by definition, these new forms fall outside the traditional mechanisms of production, dissemination, and evaluation. Given the high value that most institutions put on scholarship that appears in refereed journals or in books produced by well-respected presses, how are innovative, intellectually valuable, well-researched, self-published Web sites to be counted in the processes of promotion, merit, tenure, review, and recognition?

The discipline of composition studies has long recognized that Scholarship presents itself in many different forms. As the CCCC Position Statement on "Scholarship in Composition: Guidelines for Faculty, Deans, Department Chairs" (1987) notes:

The discipline recognizes many ways of presenting important new work in composition. Some innovative textbooks, computer software and programs, and curricular development, for example, represent primary means of communicating the results of extensive research. Such means of conducting research and formulating theory require considerable investments of time, imagination, expertise, and energy.

Our profession seems to have already accepted what was recently unacceptable: articles published in peer-reviewed ejournals. While there are many emerging alternative and hybrid texts--electronic mailing lists, weblogs, MOOs, databases, and so forth--which perhaps also rise to the level of both Scholarship and scholarship, I want to focus here on what I think logically follows e-journals on our profession's list of familiar online genres: self-published scholarly Web sites. Specifically, I examine four cases or examples of fully realized self-published Web sites, all created by academics active in English studies for other academic readers within their institutions and beyond, and the successes and challenges these writers have had in making their work count as scholarship.

Four (Old) Examples

To eventually make my argument as to why self-published scholarly Web sites ought to count as S/scholarship, I'll briefly describe four such Web sites that represent the sort of work I am talking about.

Figure 1: The Computer Teaching Tips Site

The computer teaching tips site

Let me begin with my own site, "The Computer Teaching Tips" page, probably the smallest and most simple of the examples described here. The site is a modest project I started a few years ago when a senior faculty member at Eastern Michigan University innocently asked me what he could do with the computers in the department's Macintosh computer lab to teach. Basically, the site is a collection of fairly simple how-to tips about using different computer applications in writing classes being taught in computer labs. For example, under the category "Word Processing," I list ideas on how to incorporate word processing technology into a writing class, ideas that are sometimes a sentence or two and sometimes a paragraph. The site provides similar advice about email, MOOs, and the Web to instructors new to teaching with computers, along with a list of helpful links to other sites. I see myself as both the writer and the editor of the site since I wrote most of the text that appears on the site based on ideas of my own and ideas others submitted to me from various electronic mailing lists. And of course, I also act as the publisher of the site since I'm the one who maintains and updates the site.

The "Teaching Tips" site is linked to from a variety of different other Web sites about writing pedagogy, which itself is an indicator of the value of the site, and the page receives between 50 and 100 unique hits or visits a week from Web readers.

Figure 2: Education and Technology Resources

Education and Technology Resources site

Virginia Montecino's Education and Technology Resources offers an extensive and frequently updated collection of sites for people interested in the connection between education and technology in general, writing and technology in particular. This screen shot represents just one of the sections of the main site, which is at the URL listed above. Montecino's site is quite large and includes a variety of documents for students at George Mason University about the school's technological resources, documents for faculty at GMU and beyond on using technology to teach, and materials Montecino calls "Research and Writing Resources" which includes (among many other things) documents on cyberculture, Web site evaluation, and art and museums online. Much of what Montecino includes are links to other sites, but she has also written a great deal of the material herself.

Figure 3: Aristotle's Rhetoric Hypertext

Honeycutt's Aristotle site

Lee Honeycutt's hypertextualized version of Aristotle's Rhetoric is a different type of site than either Krause's or Montecino's since it is essentially a web-based edition or version of Aristotle's text. Honeycutt's presentation is not a translation--actually, his Web site uses a 1954 translation from W. Rhys Roberts--but rather a hypertextualization of the text. It includes a search feature, an annotated bibliography, and links to other classics studies Web sites. Each book of the Rhetoric includes an index, complete with links that take you directly to specific passages, and, for classics scholars, Honeycutt has included a hypertextualized version of the Bekker indexing system that allows readers to go to specific passages.

Figure 4: The SITES Homepage

Anderson's SITES site

Finally, there's the extensive Web work of Daniel Anderson. The first one of Anderson's sites I encountered was the "Using Newsgroups to Teach Professional Issues in First-Year Writing Classes: A Workshop in Four Stages," which is a Web site that is as much a tool for teachers as it is a resource for students.

But Anderson's work goes far beyond this site. As part of his work with the Studio for Instructional Technology in English Studies, Anderson maintains an enormous number of resources for teachers and students at the University of North Carolina and beyond. Like Montecino and I, his work is both as a writer and an editor of these materials, all of which are brought together in his role of Web publisher. One of the more interesting Anderson Web projects that is part of this larger site is an interactive space focusing on the Stephen Crane short story "The Open Boat," previously (but no longer) available at The site is a multi-framed design that provides the full text of the story "The Open Boat," which is hypertextualized to allow readers to follow key themes of the story. Readers can click on a variety of links and then, in separate frame windows, they can see commentary from other people about that aspect of the story and they can add commentary of their own.2

A Few New Examples

Since 2002, a variety of new forms of self-publication and other alternatives to traditional publishing have arisen. These forms include Content Management Sites (CMSs), wikis, and weblogs, as well as the phenomenon of copublication, wherein authors simultaneously send their work for publication through some form of peer review and publish that work themselves online. These new forms, in the context of academic tenure and promotion cases, raise further questions about the multiple meanings of S/scholarship.

The Multimeanings of S/scholarship

So, just what exactly are these sites, and where do they fit into the all-important document in an academic career, the curriculum vitae? I think the answer to this question pivots on the definition of Scholarship versus scholarship. As I suggested earlier, the two different uses of the term are significant. All of us working in academia strive for Scholarship in the sense that we want our work to advance the knowledge of our fields, but we also want our work to be considered scholarship for the purposes of recognition by our institutions. Usually, capital-S Scholarship and small-s scholarship are overlapping terms. But emerging and hybrid forms like self-published Web sites represent a point of disconnection between these terms, one that also points to other ways in which what we philosophically believe to be Scholarship is not always institutionally counted as scholarship.

Of course, the notion that these Web sites have to count toward tenure and promotion is one that most directly pertains to a relatively small audience: faculty members seeking tenure, promotion, or other institutional recognition. These Web sites have value for an audience that is much larger than this; an audience that includes teachers working in non-tenure-track positions, graduate students, Web readers interested in the topics of the sites, teachers working at schools where tenure requirements have little to do with scholarship, and so forth. I also think it's important to say that the creators of these Web sites put together their pages for reasons that exceed the question of how it might (or might not) fit into their own cases for tenure and promotion, much in the same way that most of us who are trying to publish our S/scholarship in journals and books are presumably motivated by more than simply how it looks on our cv.

Still, there are very practical reasons why tenure and promotion seeking faculty members interested in pursuing self-published Web site projects need to have an answer to the practical (albeit crass) questions of how this work will count. An academic career in the form of ongoing employment can literally be at stake based on what will or won't count. The same is true of conventional print: while readers and writers obviously engage in academic work for reasons that reach beyond the question of how it will count in the pursuit of tenure and promotion, I think it's fair to say that not as many of us would be as interested in publishing S/scholarship if it didn't count as a part of our positions. We can debate whether or not this relationship between scholarship and tenure-track employment should exist, but we can't debate that it does exist.

Are these projects Scholarship? Clearly, these Web sites are not the same as articles published in an electronic journal. None of these sites have passed through a formal review or editorial process, and since the writers are also Web publishers, each site is in a constant state of revision. I suppose none of these sites counts as Scholarship or scholarship if we stick with the overly narrow notion that it must be approved of by reviewers and sanctioned by an editor or some form of peer review. But of course, such a definition of scholarship would be dangerously narrow. As Burbules (1997) points out, sometimes editors and reviewers "have blind spots, or biases, that make it difficult to get certain kinds of articles through the review process" (p. 274) making the Web a viable alternative to presenting cutting-edge work.

These sites are clearly not inconsequential. It's not like these writers took a syllabus or an essay they couldn't get published anywhere else, converted it to HTML, and slapped it up on the web. These are in-depth and detailed Web sites that are based upon extensive research, regularly updated, and valued by the academic community--both within particular institutions and beyond them. All of my case study writers reported to me about visits or hits to their Web sites, sometimes reaching into the tens of thousands, or they noted the dozens of other sites that link to their sites, thus lending them credibility. Type "Aristotle's Rhetoric" into Google and you will come across Honeycutt's page at the top of the list. Because the Google search engine generally ranks the most popular pages associated with a search term first, this indicates that Honeycutt's site is the most utilized resource on that particular text available on the Web.

The determination of these Web sites' scholarly value is further complicated by the role of the writer within the institution and the nature of the institution as well. Montecino is not in a tenure-track position, but in email correspondence with me, she made it clear that her Web site has had a significant impact on her status within her institution. "My site and my expertise in teaching and technology was, in part, responsible for getting me the position of Education and Technology Specialist for the College of Arts and Sciences," Montecino writes, which in turn led to her current position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at George Mason University's New Century College, and which has also led to a grant associated with her Online Writing Guide (available at "There are many part-time faculty, with Ph.D.s at our university, who will not get full time positions and I do believe that my Web site had a definite part in making me more visible and valuable because of my connection with this new... medium and discipline (the Internet)" (electronic mail communication, November 29, 2001). Montecino and two colleagues, tenure-track faculty member Lesley Smith and librarian Jim Young, have received a substantial grant from the College of Arts and Sciences to continue to enhance the learning communities in New Century College with technology enriched learning experiences.

The tenure and review process at the school where I teach, Eastern Michigan University, is further complicated by the existence of a strong faculty union and an unusually diverse department. In brief, the tenure and review process at EMU is quite open and directly tied to the contract between the university and the faculty. The result is that each department at EMU has a "Department Evaluation Document" (affectionately known on campus as the "DEaD"). The English department's version of this document assigns point values to a wide variety of different sorts of scholarship--books, journal articles, and chapters in collections of course, but also things like textbooks, conference presentations, articles published in non-academic publications (newspaper or magazine articles, poems, short stories, plays, etc.), software creation, CD-ROMs, Web sites, and so forth. Part of the reason of this over-inclusive approach to what counts as scholarship is to make explicit the publishing requirements for tenure as spelled out in the union contract. But the DEaD is also an effort to reflect the diverse interests of a very large department that has programs in journalism, public relations, linguistics, children's literature, and creative writing (not to mention composition and rhetoric and literature).

My point here is that before we go too far in determining what sort of self-published Web sites should or shouldn't count as scholarship, we should acknowledge that it is scholarship and not Scholarship that is key to the tenure and review process, and the definition of scholarship is always tied to local and institutional politics. Perhaps this is so obvious that it goes without saying, although perhaps this is something that is not said enough. I don't think the variable nature of scholarship (and teaching and service, for that matter) is made clear enough to Ph.D. students as they prepare for academic careers; it certainly wasn't made very clear to me. I recall the horror stories of the publish-or-perish phenomenon, of assistant professors who had books published by good presses and were still denied tenure. The picture that was painted by my advisors made me think that tenure at most schools was a fifty-fifty proposition, at best.

The fact of the matter is that this happens almost exclusively at Carnegie Classification Research I or Research II institutions, or it happens in situations that probably have more to do with complicated politics and personalities than it does with publications. The vast majority of community colleges, colleges, and universities in this country are not research institutions and do not have the same notions about what does or doesn't count as scholarship for the purposes of tenure, review, and promotion. Yet this reality is routinely ignored in documents that offer advice and guidelines for tenure, promotion, and review.

For example, consider the CCCC Committee on Computers and Composition Web site, "Tenure and Promotion Cases for Faculty Who Work With Technology" (Selfe, 2002). Produced by a subcommittee chaired by Cynthia Selfe, the site offers advice useful to the tenure-seeking individual who works with technology and who finds herself needing to justify this work, advice I will return to in the next section of my essay. The site provides four fictional case studies of the paths new faculty took in their pursuit of tenure at "University X," and 26 responses from "real department chairs, deans, and personnel committee chairs, writing anonymously and frankly about how the case would be evaluated at their institutions." While Selfe and the members of her committee (which included Linda Hanson, Gail Hawisher, Victor Villanueva Jr., and Kathleen Yancey) "tried to include assessments from individuals at a wide range of institutions" (Selfe, 2002), all but four of their respondents identified themselves as working at Research I or Research II institutions. There were no respondents who identified themselves as working at an institution like EMU, which I think would best be described as a regional state university that offers a few Ph.D. programs, several MA programs (including in English), and that focuses on undergraduate teaching. There were also no respondents who identified themselves as working at community colleges.

So just as we simply cannot assume that it takes a book to get tenure and promotion (because I think at most schools the requirements for scholarship are not this high), I don't think we can simply assume that valuable self-published Web sites won't count as scholarship everywhere. Research I and II schools might set the pace for what the academic community believes about what is or isn't Scholarship, and, in turn, what should be institutionally counted as scholarship. But many different types of institutions--ironically, more often than not the ones that are not generally thought of as important or innovative research schools, like EMU--seem willing to embrace a variety of different approaches to scholarship, including self-published Web sites.

Two of the writers/publishers of the Web sites I've discussed in this essay, Honeycutt and Anderson, were tenure-seeking faculty at Research I institutions, Iowa State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, respectively, and both of them experienced first-hand the challenges of making their self-published Web sites count as scholarship. In email correspondence with me, Anderson wrote "People seem reasonably willing to look at [my Web sites] as teaching and service. The hard sell is to have them count as research" (electronic mail communication, December 13, 2001). Honeycutt wrote "I have been told by my department chair that this project will NOT have the same status as a refereed journal article when I go up for tenure, and he recommend that I instead place it under 'service' when making my tenure argument" (electronic mail communication, December 18, 2001).

There are two fairly obvious problems with labeling these particular self-published Web sites as service for the purposes of tenure and review. First, service is usually seen as the weakest of the three traditional categories of scholarship, teaching, and service, particularly at Research I schools. At many institutions (even teaching-focused institutions), all too often research and scholarship matters the most, teaching matters second, and service, well, service is nice to have.

Second, these Web sites aren't service, at least as service tends to be defined at most institutions. Anderson's and Honeycutt's sites certainly offer a service to the larger academic community, but only in the sense that other works of S/scholarship do this. These sites have nothing to do with things like committee work, administrative work, advising, community outreach, etc. Serving as a Web master for a department Web site might be better described as service rather than scholarship, but clearly these sites are not the same sort of projects. I can only hypothesize Anderson and Honeycutt are being advised to call their Web work service because their mentors and department chairs don't (yet) accept the notion that scholarship can be self-published on the Web, or because they don't understand the nature of this Web-based work.

For me, it seems clear that all of the sites I've discussed should be considered for the purposes of tenure and review as small-s scholarship because they are new forms of capital-S Scholarship, texts that (to again quote the CCCC Position Statement on "Scholarship in Composition") present "important new work in composition." All of the writers of the Web sites I consider here strongly believe this as well. Montecino wrote in her email correspondence with me that she believed the people who make the decisions about what will or won't count "do not understand the amount of work that goes into creating content, doing the research, and creating and maintaining the site, nor do they appreciate the academic publishing aspect" of many self-published Web sites (electronic mail communication, November 29, 2001). Anderson wrote, "The innovation is hard to define, but like many things I think it is possible to (define it) when you see it or when it is explained in the context of accommodating existing knowledge and values in the academy then moving beyond them in valuable way" (electronic mail communication, December 13, 2001). And as Honeycutt wrote, "I'm not saying that my site should count the same as a book or even many types of print articles. But I am saying that it should count for more than mere 'service'... I couldn't even begin to estimate the number of hours I've spent working on this site, but I do know that the impact is much more widespread than most print publications" (electronic mail communication, December 18, 2001).

And What About Blogs, Anyway?

Weblogs were not a topic of discussion at all in Version 1.0 of this article, but it seems impossible to not talk about their role as self-published S/scholarship today. While blogging on its own may not help scholars make arguments for promotion and tenure, it stands as an important way for scholars to contribute to the production and circulation of disciplinary knowledge, and a number of scholars in our field have shown how it can lead as an invention and reflection heuristic to more conventional forms of print-based scholarship (i.e., books, articles, and the like) that clearly count towards promotion and tenure.

Making Them Count in the Long and Short Term: Three Approaches

In fact, Honeycutt's last point about what does and doesn't count toward promotion and tenure needs to be emphasized here: none of the Web scholars I have discussed in this essay are trying to dismiss the value of peer review in the publishing process, nor are they trying to suggest that self-published Web sites should somehow be automatically counted as being the same thing as a book. But they should certainly count for something, they should be counted as scholarship because they are informed by innovative and extensive research, and, like more traditional forms of Scholarship, they advance knowledge. They should not be counted on a cv as service simply because they are not, like a department Web site, for example, a form of academic service.

Just as it seems inevitable that we will continue to see a migration of print journals to the electronic medium, we will also see more academics publishing their own scholarship directly to the web. But as Burbules (1997) points out, "a deeper reason why on-line publication will continue to increase (whether self-published or via refereed outlets) is that it makes possible new kinds of publication, many of which can only exist in an on-line (or CD-ROM) format. Here issues of form and content merge further: the kinds of text production that will count as scholarly work are going to continue to undergo rapid change and innovation. . ." (p. 278). The problem is the sensibilities concerning counting or not counting this work toward tenure and review is not changing quickly enough to keep up with these innovations.

Again, determining what is or isn't scholarship is always ultimately the prerogative of local institutions. But it seems to me that those of us interested in Web-based scholarship should be working in both long-term and short-term ways to create the necessary apparatus to make it easier to count the sort of projects I've discussed here as S/scholarship. I'd like to close my essay by focusing on three approaches I believe we should consider both collectively as English studies scholars and individually as Web scholars who seek to have their contributions rewarded appropriately.

The first approach is a long-term one. At the 2001 Modern Language Association Annual Convention in New Orleans, Gary Olson (2001) gave a talk titled "The Value of Virtual Scholarship in the Academy's Printcentric Economy." Acknowledging the value of self-published Web sites but nonetheless wanting to preserve some sense of institutional approval, Olson proposed a system where organizations like MLA or a body associated with NCTE would systematically review and sanction these sorts of projects. To simplify his position for a moment, Olson was proposing a sort of scholarly version of a Seal of Approval for self-published Web sites. Web authors could display this information on their site, and presumably, these Web sites would somehow be indexed by MLA, NCTE, or both.

This may be the best long-term solution, though it is somewhat problematic. For one thing, this system would subject self-published Web sites to a unique sort of scrutiny. After all, neither the MLA nor the NCTE provide anything like a scholarly seal of approval for conventional journals they consider credible versus ones they do not. Second, there are many logistical problems with such a system that would require some time to solve. Who would represent this official sanctioning body, and how would these reviewers be compensated for their work? How would these representatives be appointed or elected? Wouldn't there be an inevitable bias from evaluators with less experience with the Web? What sort of criteria would this review board use to determine which Web sites it would sanction? And third, while such a system would probably be persuasive, this does not mean that any individual institution would acknowledge the recommendations of this sanctioning body. Of course, all similar problems pertain, to some extent, to any type of peer review, online or not.

I think these and other problems could be solved, but I doubt they could be solved in a timely enough fashion to benefit the scholars whose work I discuss here. Academics in tenure-track positions who want their self-published Web work to count need a shorter-term approach. The most practical of the two short-term approaches I have in mind is the one articulated by Selfe et al. on their Web site. The site offers previously mentioned case studies and responses that effectively show five different scenerios, useful for any tenure-seeking English studies faculty engaged in work with technology. The site also offers links to position statements about the issue of tenure and promotion for work with technology from both CCCC and MLA, documents that can help the tenure-seeking candidate in their cause. These and other position statements (along with the experiences of the scholars I discuss in this essay) make it clear that one of the major challenges anyone working with technology in English departments faces is literally explaining the work we do and how it should be rewarded. While I think we've reached the point where most personnel committee and department chairs know what a Web site is, I don't think most of the folks reviewing tenure and promotion documents in English departments know what it takes to create and maintain a Web site that rises to the level of S/scholarship. So in this sense, the "Tenure and Promotion Cases for Faculty Who Work With Technology" (2002) is extremely useful since it provides tenure and promotion-seeking faculty sound advice on conveying this message.

But, in the end, the Web site of Selfe et al. is really a tool to help tenure and promotion-seeking faculty navigate the current system of tenure and review. It is certainly sound and commonsense advice: I inadvertently followed much of it, and I think both Anderson and Honeycutt are following this advice by keeping track of usage on their Web sites, noting sites that link to theirs, and so forth. However, the approach of Selfe et al. on its own doesn't necessarily address the problem of making things like self-published Web sites count because it cannot not automatically convince deans, department chairs, and other decision members that these sites rise to the level of S/scholarship.

Another interesting and arguably more radical approach I believe could be helpful in the short-term is the one taken by Harvard historian Marshall Poe as he discussed in his The Journal of Electronic Publishing article, "Print Monograph Dead; Invent New Publishing Model" (2001). Poe wrote a book on early Russian history that he describes as "wildy esoteric." So, despite positive comments from academic press editors, his project simply was too narrowly focused to be a profitable proposition for any publisher.

With nothing else to lose, he decided to take matters into his own hands and publish the manuscript himself. He first contacted "about a dozen people in the world who [were] actually qualified to comment on my book" in order to conduct a sort of non-blind vetting process. Poe writes that he would have preferred a blind-review, but "Scholarly societies are not set up to offer blind peer review for self-published books (but they should be); e-mail discussion groups could do it (but they don't). . . " (2001). Taking the comments and suggestions from his readers, he formatted his book and converted it into a portable document format (PDF) file that would retain his formatting. He then made the book available on his Web site ( and told an audience of readers likely to be interested in the book, the members of the email discussion forum "Early Slavic Studies List." He went on to send this document out for review to relevant journals, listed it with a service called "Print On Demand" (which could produce custom orders of a paper version of his book), and even had it added to the collection of Harvard's Widener Memorial Library in both print and electronic forms.

In other words, Poe's self-published electronic work became Scholarship not as the result of a process certified by the usual gatekeepers, but as the result of his own initiative as both a writer and a publisher. He took a chance on a unique approach to S/scholarship by self-publishing it and simultaneously working hard to promote his book to the stakeholders who would ultimately determine its value: peers, reviewers, potential purchasers, and academic libraries. Poe's approach is obviously much more time-consuming and risky than conventional publishing, but had he followed the accepted practices of publishing, he wouldn't have published anything at all.

Web writers facing opposition from deans, department chairs, and tenure and review committees about the idea of counting their Web sites as S/scholarship can learn a lot from the initiatives taken by Poe. For example, Web writers/publishers might need to develop their own reviewing body made up of colleagues within English studies and connected electronically through any number of different mailing lists. They should note the various measures of success of any Web site, such as other sites that link to it, the number of hits, unsolicited and solicited comments from readers, etc. Perhaps journals like CCC Online, Kairos, academic.writing, Enculturation, and so forth could review and comment on valuable self-published Web sites submitted by authors or interested readers. In other words, instead of waiting for the system of vetting scholarship to catch up to the process of Web publishing or waiting for tenure and review committees to accept the notion that these self-published Web sites can indeed constitute S/scholarship, I am suggesting that self-publishing Web scholars circumvent the status quo and create their own entrepreneurial system.

As Burbules (1997) noted, "What we are seeing in electronic publishing is a shift away from traditional authorities and sources of credibility, linked with institutions such as universities, journals and professional organisations who filter and legitimate certain kinds of writing, to more decentred, audience-driven, processes of screening, feedback and attributions of credibility or status. . . " (p xx) It seems inevitable that traditional authorities, organizations, and other gate-keepers would raise questions with this new and more dynamic approach to scholarship, some legitimate concerns about how easy it would be for trivial and derivative work to be counted as scholarship, and some little more than a matter of preserving the status quo for its own sake.

But I return to the point I tried to make at the opening of this essay and the vision that Lanham had over a decade ago. The economic realities of academic publishing point to a future where academics will either have to be willing to embrace the obvious advantages of electronic publishing, or they will have to acknowledge that there will soon be not nearly as many places for academic conversations. As Stephen Greenblatt's May 28, 2002 "Special Letter From the President" published on the MLA's Web site makes clear, the financial problems of academic presses have reached a critical stage where "higher education stands to lose, or at least severely to damage, a generation of young scholars." Simply put, university presses can no longer afford to publish as many books in a variety of fields, including English studies. This has put many tenure-seeking faculty in the "maddening double bind" of being unable to meet the book requirement for tenure," no matter how strong or serious their scholarly achievement," because the publishers of books are running out of money (Greenblatt, 2002).

Obviously, the Web represents at least a partial solution to this problem. Most of us enjoy the tactile pleasure of holding our words in our hands, ordered neatly and professionally on a page suitable for collection on our shelves. But if the choice is between the bottle and the wine, the decision seems obvious.

Along with other emerging and alternative and hybrid texts, self-published Web sites will continue to be presented as scholarship for the purposes of institutional recognition, and, in turn, challenge the notions of what we mean by Scholarship. Inevitably, these sites will have to pass through some sort of review process along the lines of what has been proposed by Olson, or the writers of these sites will have to establish their own credibility by taking the sort of initiative exemplified by Poe. But clearly, if we are to value scholarship that is innovative, interactive, dynamic, and responsive to audiences, then we should value the work of individual Web scholars/writers/publishers.

In Conclusion 2.0: More Ways for Making it Count?

While some of this article's conclusions have changed with the new types of self- (and collaboratively-) published web sites that have come on the scene in the last five years, others have not: the basic methods for counting self-published web sites as scholarship hold true today, even as they continue to evolve.


1. My thanks to the folks at Kairos for their invitation to revise and publish version 2.0 of this article. Thanks too to Mike Edwards and colleagues for their help and guidance in the editing and design process.

2. Anderson's SITES project and Open Boat project are no longer available. However, I have left the link information intact, since they appeared in version 1.0 of the article, and I discuss their status in the "Four Old Examples: Where Are They Now?" section of version 2.0.