Course: Pierazzo

DH Summer School Switzerland 2013: Course Elena Pierazzo from on Vimeo.


Collaborative notes taken by paricipants of the DH Summer School Switzerland:

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[Course] Elena Pierazzo(@epierazzo), Digital Textual Editing

Editing is an old practice (Library of Alexandria) : methods to make correct a message.
Message goes from a sender to a receiver, by channels. Loss of message, noise (There can be noise in the writing system, in the writing conventions, in the style of writing, in the support, in the screen colors, in the pronunciation…)
But what is correct, defined by the role assigned to the physical support of the text.
Document = physical object => picture of a document is only a representation
Text = more difficult to define. A linguistic architecture with a meaning potentially understandable by some receivers that have the caability to decipher the code. Can be immaterial.This alllows to be transmitted. But they are also embodied in physical objects, not/difficultly transmitted.
What is digital editing ? New method or new discipline ? Lost of things have changed, the way we read, edit, publish…
  • 1st Example : a project at KCL, edition of inscription, like puzzle of stones
Projet de numérisation des inscriptions de la Rome tripolitaine: (intéressant renversement de situation: des inscriptions sur pierre sont peut-etre sauvées des destructions de la guerre en Lybie par la numérisation (alors que la pierre est un média plus pérenne, à première vue).
We don’t know how long a digital edition will last, should we print them out ?
  • 2nd example : fac simile : you wil never see the transcription in its own without the fac simile, it is only functionnal, to help you read easily the text. Ultra-diplomatic edition. (
  • use of Jane Austen’s manuscripts as another example of the types of projects that incorporate digital editions as a tool towards scholarly editions:
Do we read the digital editions on screens ? Not for long hours.
Not for all : Les ebooks sont en nette augmentation aux USA, progression en Europe, mais très largement absents d’Europe de l’Est et d’Afrique
Scholarly editions : Are scholarly editions meant to be read ot to be used as Intellectual tools/explored? Do we really “read” them ?
What do the readers want ? The answer is : Printed books 😉 (Cf : Porter 2013 survey with mediavelists:
Are scholarly editions to be read or used?  Example of TSE Waste Land App (where it is “literally” being read) and also the Shakespeare sonnets app
Preparing the editions : 2 main approches
– (a) evolution of the editor
– (b) the computer as mechanic research assistant : magic/black boxes
Editor as encoder/programmer/web designer lives in the believes
– that enconding is interpretation,
– encodng make explicit our understanding,
– encoding is a way to represent research
(a) Advantags of these approach  (ex TEI)
– keeping the annotations and the documentations of the editorial work exactly linked to the word it belongs
– Document at every level, all the details of the work
– maximum flexibility in the output
– possibility of running statitstical queries
– quality control
– international community of users
– open to innovation
BUT : you have to learn so many things ! what every editor should know is a very long list.
XML + TEI + XSLT + HTML + CSS… (but “HTML and CSS are so 2005″…) + web design + databases +…
then let”s look at the magic boxes :
(b) Computers do all for you. Kinda. But you don’t understand what you’re doing. Many different traditions, only TEI is adaptable to all.
What solution, then ? TEI tools are rigid, and yet, TEI is also deemed “extremely flexible”
Wake up ! Social edition ! You are not alone ;), wisdom of the crowd/crowdsourcing –> ha ha, I didn’t realize you were typing on the lecture: I thought you saw me sleeping…  :S => #MOUAHAHAH hu hu
“The Devonshire manuscript/Farewell all my wellfare”:
 Wikibooks, an example of the wisdom of the crowd:
Then if everybody is doing it, what the editor is supposed to do ? Change job ? –> “crowd sourcing” (the job of the poor research assistant for the overlord editor)
– Setting up the Infrastructure
– Selecting/organizing the material
– Checking the quality of the transcription
– Form transcription to edition
Documentary editions and computers — computers have greater flexibility that allows for changes and more capabilities in editing:
Digital editions are getting more imaginative and interactive : from digitised to digital editions
“From Theory to Encoding”
OCHO model: the objects are chapters, sections etc. But not pages or any other material references which are not useful. Little to do with real texts.
OCHO Model not interested in the material dimensions of texts. Cannot  have linguistic, semantic, or literary dimensions simultaneously
Editing is about texts, but sometimes the process to make the document is at least as important as the text that it contains. The text can be determined by the document.
– 7 different reconstructions of Beowulf’s manuscript “gatherings”
manuscripts are messy, and DH is a way of reassembling manuscript and organizing archive

What do we do with non linear texts ? Picasso, Apollinaire…medieval texts (5 columns = 5 texts in one) ?
Editing is all about texts, but documents are at least as important as the texts they contain. Document-type dependent?
=> Document based encoding, support for messy manuscritps, helps for genetic editing/editions
Example : Madame Bovary = looks to me like an “ultra diplomatic edition”, so 2000 😉 => new modules
The new module has 3 parts :
– document encoding
– transcription enhancement
– ?
each manuscript can be given “exact spatial coordinates” in the transcription
Does it work ? Well, we’ll see 😉
Prototype : a notebook of Proust:
Examining the writing and reading sequences (different)
Main research question : How to make understandable editorial work for a larger public ?
How to present the genesis ? Digital edition that WOULDN’T be the transposition of print editions on the screeen !
“what can a computer do that a book cannot do?” The goal is to achieve what cannot be achieved via print.
My inspiring principles :
– See Gabler –> demonstration of an interactive “manuscript transcription tool” that magnifies sections of Ulysses manuscripts and inserts Gabler’s transcriptions
– Computer games : if kids can play with evolution, why wouldn’t they play with edition ? Gamification !
“Hyper” Nietzsche collective “manuscripting”:
@radusuciu:10:24 yes. the animated one. @frederickaplan found this screenshot: –> for the exact pg being discussed
Proust Cahier 46: – allows readers to see the text /(or document?) actually changing in time and space.
Digital textual ed. changes division of labour, the way we think of our work, the way we think of ourselves, and the reasons how/why we do our work.
Conclusion : Digital editing: new medium ? new discipline ? —> “for me, not clear yet” !