[Humanist] 26.209 what *is* a digital edition?
Humanist Discussion Group
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Aug 4 16:20:18 CEST 2012
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 209.
Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2012 09:40:33 -0700
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
Subject: Fwd: [DIGITALCLASSICIST] Euripides Scholia, or: what makes a digitaledition digital?
[From time to time I pass on messages from Digital Classicist
(http://www.digitalclassicist.org/) without signalling their origins in
that group. Following is yet another worthy posting that has already
provoked some comment, but rather than keep sending these on
I direct the attention of all those interested in the question (what,
after all, *is* a "digital edition"?) to the discussion there. --WM]
I have checked out the interesting scholarly edition "Euripides Scholia"
online, by D. Mastronarde. Very usefully, he exposes the rationale (both
philological and digital) of his edition in
I'll mention here a couple of passages of that page and then ask a
question on the digital nature of that important edition.
"I have preferred to list the witnesses as XXaXbTYGrZZaZm and to enter
the note ‘s.l.’ in the position segment".
(About the position of scholia, like 'interlinear' etc.).
More interestingly and explicitly, later on - in the same page -
"The apparatus criticus is an area in which I have decided not to use
the TEI mechanisms for apparatus criticus readings and variants, because
in a project of this kind it seems to me that it would involve an
unjustifiably large overhead of markup. I believe the information
familiar to those who know how to read the apparatus criticus of a
classical text can be provided in textual segments. This does mean that
one will not be able to take my XML document and process it to produce a
text that reflects the textual choices and errors of a particular
witness, which probably would be possible with a more elaborate markup
of readings and witnesses with pointers to specific words in the text.
Such a project would require more personnel and a much larger budget,
and I don’t think the benefit would be worth the cost".
The main point here is that, as Mastronard says, this editions is meant
to be "read" (in fact the user can choose among different 'views'
including different layers of textual materials), and would require
further processing to become a "real" digital scholarly edition,
handling variants and witnesses automatically. In other words, the
modelling behind this online edition mirrors a traditional print edition
of scholia, rather than representing the textual variance with a digital
paradigm. The choice of the electronic form, as explained in
http://euripidesscholia.org/EurSchGoals.html (Project Goals: "Other
goals of this project are related to exploiting the possibilities of a
digital format"), is mostly due to Open Access and expandibility
reasons. The latter reasons are highly admirable in themselves (and I
most certainly support Open Access and believe in modularity and
interoperability). My question, however, is: may this excellent
philological work be also defined a *digital* scholarly edition?
Some interesting reflections I may recall right now on when an edition
qualifies as 'digital' are:
1) Robinson, P. (2006), Electronic Textual Editing: The Canterbury Tales
and other Medieval Texts, in Lou Burnard; Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe &
John Unsworth, ed., 'Electronic Textual Editing', Modern Language
Association of America
2) Bodard, G. & Garcés, J. (2009), Open Source Critical Editions: A
Rationale, in Marilyn Deegan & Kathryn Sutherland, ed., 'Text Editing,
Print, and the Digital World', Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 83-98;
3) The work of Patrick Sahle: check out http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ahz26/
What do you digital classicists think?
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