Among the many highlights in the long and distinguished career of former ELI director and University of Michigan professor emeritus of linguistics John Swales was the 1990 publication of his landmark text Genre Analysis, which helped establish genre studies as a distinct academic discipline within the wider field of applied linguistics. Another important product of Swales’s long engagement with academic genres is the Genre Archive, an extensive compilation of published articles and relevant dissertation chapters, manuscripts, and term papers that deal with some aspect or aspects of non-literary genres. The Archive was assembled by Swales, his graduate students, and ELI visiting scholars, with the assistance of the ELI Library staff. While the majority of the collection is from the twenty-year period following Swales’s arrival at U-M in 1985, the Archive boasts approximately 1000 papers from the 1950s to 2007, the year Swales officially retired. ELI is happy to announce that the full bibliography for the Genre Archives is now available online for interested scholars, and has also been stored in Deep Blue, U-M’s permanent online repository of scholarly work done at the University.
Swales began assembling what later became the Genre Archive while developing the first master’s degree program in English for Specific Purposes at the University of Aston in the years immediately preceding his time at the ELI. The goal, he says, was to make research more widely available since “there wasn’t very much available electronically in those days.” Once at the ELI, Swales continued working to increase the accessibility of important scholarly output by creating the Genre Archive. Often, he says, this was for practical reasons, as the ELI would host visiting scholars during the summer and he “didn’t want them to be spending a month wandering around the graduate library, trying to find something relevant.” With the large collection of papers at their fingertips, visiting scholars were able to dive right into their research without wasting any time.
Now, with its bibliography publicly available for the first time on the web, scholars near and far can appreciate the full range of the Archive’s holdings. While the papers themselves do not circulate, scholars interested in viewing them may contact the ELI for an appointment to view the Archive in person. And having the bibliography stored in Deep Blue ensures that the scope of this massive intellectual undertaking is preserved for future generations. Sigrid Cordell, U-M librarian for English language and literature, says that storing the bibliography in this U-M digital archival system “ensures long-term access to it and makes it readily available, so people can have access to it forever.”