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The Role of Technology in Scholarly Editing

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Presentation delivered at TEI Members' Meeting 2011 in Würzburg, Philology in the Digital Age

Presentation delivered at TEI Members' Meeting 2011 in Würzburg, Philology in the Digital Age

Published in: Technology, Education

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  • 1. The Role of Technology in Scholarly Editing
    Elena Pierazzo
    1
  • 2. Two main contrasting approaches
    Editor as encoder (and programmer, web designer…)
    2
  • 3. Or..
    The magic box
    3
  • 4. “the theology of the pointy bracket” (Prescott 2011)
    Encoding is interpretation
    Encoding is a way to make explicit our understanding about/of a text
    Encoding is way to represent research scholarship
    Editing = Encoding
    Encoding = Editing
    XML is only one of the many ways for encoding: editors encode even when using Word
    4
  • 5. Tim McLouglin 2010
    Difficulties of the editor as encoder
    Learning XML
    Learning the TEI
    Editors can add new elements to the encoding: editor as standard developer
    Editors need to learn/follow someone else’s taxonomy
    Time!! Encoding a supplied reading takes much longer than adding […]
    5
  • 6. How “distracting” is the use of TEI?
    Editors have to control their text, the witnesses, the paleography, the codicology and the validation of XML, and the overlapping, and the values of attributes, and the IDs, the cross-references and the consistency…
    It is distracting…
    6
  • 7. What every editor must know
    Textual scholarship
    Codicology
    Palaeography
    Historical linguistics
    History
    Literature
    XML
    TEI
    XSLT
    HTML
    CSS
    Web design
    Ontologies
    Databases
    7
  • 8. Really?
    8
  • 9. The ugly truth
    Encoding TEI as a way of editing is not everybody’s piece of cake…
    Encoding TEI is not necessarily the only way to edit
    … and as a matter of fact most editors don’t use TEI
    9
  • 10. Division of Labor
    Editor/Encoder
    Encoder/Programmer
    Programmer/ Web designer
    Web designer/ Graphic designer
    10
  • 11. When Encoder ≠ Editor then…
    Time consuming
    Room for mistakes
    Very expensive
    Examples: Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts, The Correspondence of Puccini
    11
  • 12. Collaborative work
    Editing is collaborative! (Greetham 1995)
    Well, not all of it…
    With support of a DH centre it may be possible, but what if you can’t make use of them?
    PhDs don’t have money and are lone business, most of the time
    Is this the end of the lone editor? The end of producing new editors?
    12
  • 13. The magic box
    E) encouraging the development of third-party tools for TEI users
    Development of Tools is one of the hottest topics in the TEI-L/TEI Community
    13
  • 14. What’s in the magic box?
    Intuitive editor
    Imaging tool
    Zooming, annotation, cropping, enhancing
    Automatic sync, line detection
    Concordances
    Collation
    Stemma
    Output generator, output manipulator

    14
  • 15. D.C. Parker (2000 LLC)
    What are computers for in editing?
    in collating witnesses
    in being able to alter a base text without having to revise a complicated apparatus criticus;
    in analysis of manuscript relationships
    in the selection of the most significant witnesses;
    in producing an edition;
    in the area of collaboration;
    they do away with the need to redo good work;
    they make possible a wide range of presentations
    15
  • 16. Problems
    Computers as tools to do what the editor used to do with no epistemological value on the digital methodology
    Many traditions, many disciplines have different approaches to editing. TEI can accommodate all of them (well almost). Can Tools?
    16
  • 17. Is this realistic?
    The extreme flexibility of TEI is the enemy of tool production
    Compromises!
    Are the required compromises acceptable from a scholarly point of view?
    Is the price to pay to high?
    17
  • 18. Two approaches
    Top-down: a tool is developed to be useful for the community with no specific project in mind (the tool is the project)
    Too generic to be useful? Too much work to customise it?
    Bottom-up: A tool is developed for a project and then generalised for a larger audience
    Too specific to bee useful? Too many implicit assumptions?
    18
  • 19. Early English Law
    Bottom-down approach
    Magic box based on Django
    Heavy / Idiosyncratic simplification of the possibilities offered by TEI = very hard to reuse
    19
  • 20. The Third Way
    The bricks model approach: single, sharable, combinable, interchangeable tools
    Best practice from a computing point of view, but what about the scholarly/user-friendliness point of view?
    Is the abstraction level implied by these tools the correct one from a scholarly point of view?
    How much work/programming is required to tailor them for specific use?
    20
  • 21. Too many tools that are “almost” good…
    … but “almost good” is not good enough
    A certain level of abstraction is required to develop universal tools
    Is there a level of abstraction that allows development of tools that are actually good enough?
    21
  • 22. Flexibility ≠ Out-of-the-Box
    22
  • 23. Solutions?
    I’m afraid, I don’t have them…
    But WE might have them!
    23
  • 24. Agreeing on which technology to use is not enough
    Scholarly agreement is equally necessary
    Many tables around which to sit and think
    The latest: ESF NeDiMAH (Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities)
    24
  • 25. Possible outcomes
    Either we discover that we have to create our own tools for each new project…
    …or we address these issues before going on with what we are doing
    25
  • 26. Thank You
    Elena Pierazzo
    elena.pierazzo@kcl.ac.uk
    26