According to French literary theorist, Gérard Genette, paratexts are the aspects of a published work that surround the main text of a narrative (i.e. introductions, prefaces, marginalia, inscriptions, illustrations, etc.). However, finding these specific and sometimes ancillary parts of a literary work is difficult in the digital environment. As an increasingly important field of study in the humanities and digital humanities, paratextual scholarship can define readers’ engagement with books and other printed material, their degree of agency in reading a text, and the reading experience.
Important questions such as: how do we describe these materials when they lack a controlled vocabulary, how does one search for paratexts in the digital world, and how do paratexts inform culture and the reading experience will be explored during a facilitated discussion that could inform future projects with digital collections.