2013 Innovative ETD Award
West Virginia University, USA
In Helen J. Burgess’ doctoral dissertation “Highways of the mind: the haunting of the superhighway from the World’s Fair to the World Wide Web” she produced the first truly digital dissertation in the United States which took full advantage of a Web-based format – incorporating an HTML and multimedia environment. Her dissertation consists of well-organized Web pages, persistence index links, photographs as well as video and audio clips linked throughout the document. This allows the reader to completely immerse into the digital environment and provide immediately accessible examples indicated in textual format. As a true testament to time and durability, Burgess’ ETD is still as functional today as the day it was posted online a decade ago. The bundle of dissertation files contain the Web page version as well as a “linear” book format version in PDF format, along with copies of all multimedia objects preserved in their original format, for preservation purposes.
Helen J. Burgess is an Associate Professor of English in the Communication and Technology track at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Burgess received her BA(Hons) and MA(Dist.) in English Language and Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand, and her PhD in English from West Virginia University. She is active in the new media research community as editor of the online journal Hyperrhiz: new Media Cultures, and technical editor of Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge. Dr. Burgess is coauthor of “Red Planet: Scientific and Cultural Enounters with Mars and Biofutures: Owning Body Parts and Information”, both titles published in the “Mariner10” interactive DVD-Rom series at the University of Pennsylvania Press.
She has interests in multimedia and web development, open source and open content production, electronic literature, and science fiction. Her next project is Futurama, Autogeddon: Imagining the Superhighway from the World’s Fair to the World Wide Web, a study of media representations of the American Interstate Superhighway system.