a catalog of Digital Scholarly Editions

v.4.021 2020ff, edited by Patrick Sahle et al., last change 2020-09-07

About

a catalog of: Digital Scholarly Editions, v 4.0, 2020ff under the direction of Patrick Sahle, with Georg Vogeler (contributions 1998ff), Jana Klinger (catalog entries 2019ff), Stephan Makowski (technical system 2020ff) and Nadine Sutor (various support 2020ff).

Version 4.0

I've been interested in digital scholarly editing roughly since 1994. I still try to keep an eye on the ongoing development in this area and watch out for new digital editions. This database replaces technically and continues contentwise my catalog on "Digital Scholarly Edition" v3.0 from the year 2008 onwards. To follow this history check the wayback machine and its records for http://digitale-edition.de/. The latest version of v3.0 is now at http://v3.digitale-edition.de/ as well. The new version should have a somewhat "fresher" look and feel and add some functionality: facetted browsing, additional filter, sorting, and generic search. It has been supported financially (covering the work of Jana Klinger as a student assistent 12/2019-11/2020) by the graduate school "Dokument - Text - Edition" at Wuppertal University. It is published by the Digital Humanities team. Responsibility for errors and failure is mine.

Snapshot 2020ff

Cataloging digital scholarly editions has been a side and leisure time project for me for a very long time but on very limited time resources. That was why the catalog was always incomplete and at times rather scruffy. I took up those editions that came to my knowledge by chance or by a hint from my unfatiguing colleague Georg Vogeler. My promise to include (or at least consider) editions reported by anyone in the world, I could not always keep. Between 12/2019 and 9/2020 the Wuppertal University Graduate School on Scholarly Editing funded the position of a student assistant: much of what you see here is the brilliant work of Jana Klinger. The current technical realization we owe to Stephan Makowski.

Comments

Since most digital editions don't really fit into the traditional bibliographic model, usually there are no bibliographic library records available for them. We try to create bibliographic-like data as far as possible by collecting names of general editors, places of (virtual) publishing, publishing institutions, years of publishing and ISBN-numbers and other identifiers (where available) to help make these editions identifiable and referenceable. Whenever possible, we use snippets of self-description from the web pages of the editions as comments. Otherwise, there are edition descriptions from my (Patrick's) point of view. This is particularly the case for the oldest entries. Remember: some entries go back to the late 90s, early 00s and the concept of self description by quotation only started in 2008.

Biases

"Tell me what the resource is like by telling me your biases". What I see is what you get. I am currently professor for Digital Humanities, affiliated to a history department at Wuppertal University, Germany. I have a background in (medieval) history and historical and humanities methodologies at large. Therefore, German editions will inevitably be overrepresented as well as historical editions, editions from Europe, and editions documented in Western languages. You can improve this situation by indicating underrepresented types of editions.

Definition of "digital scholarly edition"

My working definition "Edition ist die erschließende Wiedergabe historischer Dokumente" cannot literally be translated into English. "A scholarly edition is the critical representation of historical documents" would be a fair approximation. Here we have three argument places to be filled by explanation:

  • "historical documents": editing is concerned with documents which are already there. In this wide sense of "historical" the definition includes documents relevant for all subjects, history as well as literature or philosophy. Scholarly editing goes back to and starts from existing documents. To edit (to publish) a new document (which doesn't refer to something preexisting) is not scholarly editing.
  • "representation" ... covers (abstract) representation as well as presentation (reproduction). As I use to say: transmedialization (representation by data) and medialization (presentation by media). Publishing descriptive data (e.g. metadata) without reproduction is not critical editing. A catalogue, a database, a calendar is not an edition.
  • "critical / scholarly" (erschließend): reproduction of documents without critical examination is not scholarly editing. A facsimile is not a scholarly edition. A scholarly edition is marked by the critical approach towards the documents and the texts they contain.

That's a wide definition of what "scholarly editing" is. But what is "digital scholarly editing"? Digital scholarly editions are not just scholarly editions published in digital media. I distinguish between digital and digitized editions. A digitized print edition is not a "digital edition" in the strict sense used here. A digital edition can not be printed without a loss of information and/or functionality. The digital edition is guided by a different paradigm. If the paradigm of an edition is limited to the two-dimensional space of the "page" and to typographic means of information representation, then it is not a digital edition. A scholarly edition is not completely defined by its content. The adventure of an edition requires an "edendum" (the definition of an abstract (like a work) or physical (like a set of documents) object), an organizational frame (like: a project) and the self-understanding of critical engagement with the object in question with the goal of providing reliable and usable information for further research.

What's on the list, what's not? Purpose of the catalog.

Everything that's known to me and that matches the definition given above is on the list. From this version onwards, editions on generic platforms or as parts of larger homogeneous series are cataloged only exemplary while the platforms and series form a separate list. To get a "complete" set of all digital editions, you would have to take this into account.

I restricted the catalog to "real editions" and "the editions themselves", which means I leave out announcements of digital editions (with some exceptions, where publishing is expected in the near future), prototypes (in most cases), purely experimental projects and editions aborted or abandoned in an early stage. Some of these projects might nevertheless be highly interesting from a methodological point of view. According to my own definition I also leave out web-resources which only accompany the creation of printed editions (even if there is digital content or there are tools provided), which document printed editions or which are digital representations of printed volumes. I ignore "digital libraries", pedagogical resources, simple transcriptions or facsimiles and projects which explicitly aim at something else than establishing a "scholarly edition". The purpose of the catalog is to give orientation on the methodological development and state of the art in digital scholarly editing. It is as well a protocol of the history of this genre. This is why I don't delete records for editions that have vanished and why I am not so much interested in updating comments and descriptions.

Granularity

This is a catalog of single editions. Sometimes it's not easy to tell the edition as a publication from the edition as a project. Projects may result in various single publications which are like the volumes of a printed series. As long as they aim on a consistent editorial object, we regard them as being "one edition". This also holds true for changes in publication media and relaunches: It is still one edition, as long as editors and object don't change. Increasingly, editions are provided on common platforms, following a common methodology and sharing a common technology. For these, an extra page on edition platforms is provided. Sometimes, single editions from these platforms can be found in the catalog as well to ensure their visibility within the methodological spectrum (which is the purpose of the catalog).

Categories

The initial goal to use as few categories as possible with as few values as possible has worked out for me over the past 25 years. Only minor changes have been applied in the switch from v3 to v4 in 2020. All categories are disputable ...

  • title: we try to stick to the titles as given by the editions themselves. Internally there is an additional catchword (usually the family name of an author or taken from the title of a work or the name of a project) for sorting purposes.
  • general subject area: literature (philology), history (plus history of science, of art), philosophy (including theology!), musicology.
  • material: collected works, collections of texts, single works, single manuscripts, papers (Nachlässe), serial documents, charters, letters, diaries, inscriptions. Collected works may contain other material like papers or letters. Single manuscripts may also be multi volume manuscripts or series of manuscripts. Find some more information behind the info buttons on the web page.
  • language: the predominant language of the documents in question. The value can be given more than once. We use the definition of languages of ISO 639-1.
  • period: antiquity (...-500), early (500-1000) / high (1000-1250) / late (1250-1500) middle ages, early modern (1500-1800), modern (1800-). According to the majority of the material in a project, but the property can be used more than once.

Re-use

You find the current state of the data at https://git.uni-wuppertal.de/dhsfu/sde-catalog. No versioning of the data, however.

Technical background

Data is now in TEI. We use the TEIPublisher, but with many modifications and some new features.


Patrick Sahle, Spring 2020. Contact