Appraising, Processing, and Providing Access to Email in Contemporary Literary Archives

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The email of contemporary literary figures is ripe for research by scholars, and of broad interest to the general public, but can also present many challenges to cultural memory institutions that seek to appraise, process, and provide access to this rich archival material. This article explores how five institutions across the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand are using ePADD, free and open source software developed by Stanford Libraries that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to help meet these challenges for email in contemporary English‐language literary collections. Authors and institutions represented include British poet Wendy Cope (The British Library), British novelist Ian McEwan (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin), British Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie (Emory University), American poet Robert Creeley (Stanford University), and New Zealand poet and critic Ian Wedde (National Library of New Zealand). The use cases are followed by a discussion identifying lessons learned and areas for further research.


Type of resource text
Date created August 11, 2019
Date modified March 14, 2023
Publication date August 13, 2019


Author Schneider, Josh ORCiD icon (unverified)
Contributor Adams, Chance
Contributor DeBauche, Sally
Contributor Echols, Reid
Contributor McKean, Callum
Contributor Moran, Jessica
Contributor Waugh, Dorothy


Subject Stanford University Libraries
Subject email preservation
Subject archival processing
Subject contemporary literary archives
Subject natural language processing
Subject machine learning
Genre Text
Genre Article

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User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-SA).

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Schneider, J., Adams, C., DeBauche, S., Echols, R., McKean, C., Moran, J., and Waugh, D. Appraising, processing, and providing access to email in contemporary literary archives (preprint of article accepted for publication). Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


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