Dawn Childress digital scholarship : book history : textual studies

Digital scholarly editing: a brief tour of practices, projects, and resources.

This is the virtual “handout” for a short introduction to digital scholarly editing for Matt Fisher’s “From the Archive to the Edition in the Digital Age: 21st-Century Textual Criticism” English course.

…the digital “critical representation” of any work “does not accurately (so to speak) mirror its object; it consciously (so to speak) deforms its object… [opening] the doors of perception toward new opportunities and points of view.” –Jerome McGann (Radiant Textuality)

Editorial rationales

Let’s first consider a few historical approaches to scholarly editing:

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Editorial Matters: Data, Truth, and Interpretation in the Archives

This is a paper given at the Digital Antiquarian Conference & Workshop in response to the Editorial Matters panel on May 29, 2015 in Worcester, MA.

True to the title of our panel “Editorial Matters,” the presenters have explored some of the thornier issues of editorial work, both practical and philosophical. While the papers discuss three very different editorial projects, each with its own set of questions and theoretical approaches, there emerged for me three distinct themes throughout the papers — two of which I’ve been thinking about for some time; the third, a topic I’m now mulling over since reading the papers. For my response, I’d like to situate these themes in a broader context — one where I’m considering the “editorial matters” of digital work more generally, to include not just the discrete digital projects that belong to the domain of the digital humanities or scholarly editions, but the digital collections, databases, text corpora, and other large scale projects of cultural institutions as well. I would argue that these three themes are central to and should actively inform the work of libraries, cultural heritage centers, and other keepers of the record, namely, how we editorialize and expose the work of digital libraries, digital texts, and other digital projects, and how this work can or should support the editorial AND explorative work of scholars.

To introduce the first (and most obvious) theme, I’ll begin with a story — a librarian, archivist, digital library developer, and historian walk into a bar [actually a Napa-esque farm-to-table restaurant where they enjoyed a lovely Malbec]… What did they talk about while sharing their Malbec? — why, archives and data, of course. More specifically, text and document as data and mark-up as data modeling.

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Mapping Maupassant's Bel-Ami

Mapping Maupassant’s Bel-Ami is a collaborative project developed in the advanced undergraduate course, FR453Y: La Belle Epoque: Société et Culture en France de 1800 à 1914, taught by Dr. Willa Z. Silverman at Penn State University. This project is an example of literary cartography, following the example of similar projects, such as “Mapping St. Petersburg: Experiments in Literary Cartography” and “Mapping Mrs. Dalloway.”

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An Introduction to Digital Scholarly Editing with TEI

During the week-long Digital Antiquarian Workshop (following the DA Conference), I had the honor of leading a workshop on digital scholarly editing practices, working with a fantastic group of around 20 researchers that made teaching TEI seem easy. I think the context of the session, situated among the other workshops taught by the phenomenal AAS staff and following Michael Winship’s Retrospective of Editorial Standards, was a great way to introduce the topic and I found it helpful to be able to refer back to earlier discussions on various topics such as structural and organizational intention in digital vs. in print, how the editorial process creates a new work, the idea of copy text and witnesses, and questions of editorial choices. Invoking these discussions from the other sessions helped us to ground the practice of TEI and digital editing to the long history of textual studies and to tie this in with questions and issues that come about from doing archival research in this digital era.

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The local digital humanities landscape: understanding and building community, capacity, and infrastructure

This is a paper delivered at the 2013 Bibliothekartag in Leipzig, Germany. The abstract, slides, and PDF are available here.

When the ARL SPEC Kit on Digital Humanities1 came out in 2011, I hoped it might serve as a roadmap on the path to a digital humanities program at my library. At that time, we were attempting to build a new user community with our freshly minted Humanities in a Digital Age initiative, dabbling in various low-resource projects, and had eagerness to spare, but we needed direction and a destination – we needed a plan. The SPEC Kit, with its focus on the staffing models and infrastructure of existing centers and services, helped us imagine where we might want to go and what to think about when we get there; however, the examples covered were far removed from the decentralized, grassroots efforts with which we were experimenting. Most institutions, including my own, have no DH center (with no plans for one in the foreseeable future) and limited or no central infrastructure to support digital humanities work. The question remained, then, how do libraries such as these move beyond grassroots in their efforts to encourage and support new modes of digital scholarship?

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