read:write - digital possibilities for literature

7 Aug 2008

This report was commissioned by the literature department of Arts Council England (ACE) to gather an overview of how companies, organisations and individuals in the commercial and funded sectors are using Web 2.0 to market fiction, poetry and live literature; spot writing talent; guide readers and potential readers; create, share and review writing. In particular the authors were asked to look at:

  • what opportunities digitisation offers to writers, publishers and other literature organisations
  • how funded organisations can achieve greater sustainability/self-sufficiency or lower costs by making use of technology
  • how organisations can develop audiences and increase participation through use of digital media.

The report was commissioned at a formative stage of ACE's digital strategy development, so the research was conducted as an iterative process. The bulk of the research was conducted through interviews and desk research, informed by the experience and expertise of Institute personnel. Interviews informed the desk research and vice versa, and the direction and emphasis of the report evolved in a series of meetings with ACE personnel.

The core of this report lies in the case studies. After an initial period of Web research and informal discussion with key individuals in the sector, the authors developed a baseline questionnaire covering key areas. These included technology, site maintenance, resourcing and future hopes and needs. Though each organisation interviewed had different needs and priorities, and the interview was adapted accordingly in each case, we used this baseline to identify themes that persisted across different areas.

In addition to the interviews, the authors conducted extensive Web-based research covering both UK and international literature organisations. This formed the basis of subsector overviews that combine with the case studies.

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