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DIGITALCLASSICIST  August 2012

DIGITALCLASSICIST August 2012

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Subject:

Euripides Scholia, or: what makes a digital edition digital?

From:

Paolo Monella <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Digital Classicist List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 3 Aug 2012 18:32:42 +0200

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Dear all,

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 http://euripidesscholia.org/EurSchStructure.html

I'll mention here a couple of passages of that page and then ask a question on the digital nature of that important edition.

Mastronarde writes:
"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 - Mastronarde writes:
"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 <http://www.tei-c.org/About/Archive_new/ETE/Preview/robinson.xml>
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?
Best,
Paolo

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