DiXiT Session: The model and the prototype – It’s complicated Elli Bleeker, Francisco Álvarez Carbajal and Frederike Neuber
Creating a digital scholarly edition is an act of modelling: scholarly editors ‘model’ documents and texts in order to communicate an argument to users. Because documents and texts can contain a variety of particularities and characteristics, editors require a data model that can capture this variety. The choice to capture a specific set of particularities –and thus the focus of an edition- depends on which domain-specific research questions the editors wish to address. Ideally, the data sets underlying the digital edition are compliant with the current standards of a research field and easy to process by machines. With regard to the user-side, the data should be easily accessible and -preferably- reusable for further research.
Even though one single prototype-edition could address the needs of a specific research field and simultaneously offer a compliant dataset, the larger research community does not easily adopt domain-specific editions. This is partly due to a lack of creating technological homogeneity regarding text corpora. At the same time, there is little interchange and collaboration between different digital editing projects.
The European DiXiT network is established to deal with such issues. This entails, inter alia, the creation of three prototype-editions. The prototypes are based on three different kinds of documents and each address a different, domain-specific research question. It concerns a genetic edition of the collection of stories “Sheherazade” (1932) by Flemish author Raymond Brulez, a diplomatics edition of the medieval charters of the County of Luna, and an edition of poetry collections by the German author Stefan George. In the process of creating this prototype, the editors are confronted with the challenges outlined above.
The papers of this session discuss a number of these issues. For instance, can the editors model the texts in such a way, that their prototype succeeds in addressing the needs of a specific field of research? Can they effectively model text-specific particularities and transfer their knowledge to future users? Moreover, can they ensure that their output will be (and remain) compliant with the technological standards? Although these issues seem overly technical, they have their origin in traditional editorial theory. Consequently, the three papers together form a comprehensive reflection of an evolving field.
DiXiT Panel: Editing and Society: Cultural considerations for construction, dissemination and preservation of editions Federico Caria, Aodhán Kelly, Merisa Martinez, Daniel Powell, Anna-Maria Sichani
This panel considers editing as a set of social processes, an ecosystem of knowledge production that involves analog and digital materials, editors, technological platforms, the public, publishers, cultural heritage institutions, and funding organisations. Each presenter will focus on a different aspect of the systems, individuals, and organisations that enable the production of digital scholarly editions; at the same time, we share a broad methodological commitment to cultural analysis, ethnographic investigation, and quantitative vs. qualitative information. Rather than studying the edition itself, we focus on what people do with and around the edition, and how digital cultural artifacts come into being.
DiXiT Panel: Data-driven editing Misha Broughton, Richard Hadden, Linda Spinazzè
The remediation of cultural heritage documents into a digital environment – particularly through the disparate but related practices of mass digitization and digital scholarly editing – has a keen focus on textual content and media. However, this focus sometimes occludes the fact that, working within a digital workflow, our core material is data. This panel will seek to explore the possibilities of a more data-driven editing practice, one that sees not only our material (digital proxies, collections information, transcriptions) but also our products (corpora, editions) and all of our medial stages as data. How do we reconcile the ambiguity inherent to humanities inquiry with the exactitude required of digital data? How can we “read” this data? And what – if anything – is our responsibility as editors to provide access not merely to the final argument of our editions, but to the data that informs it? After a brief introduction of the topic, the panel participants will each give a brief overview of their research project as it incorporates data-driven editing before opening a Q&A roundtable.
DiXiT Panel: Digital scholarly editions. Data vs Presentation? Gioele Barabucci, Elena Spadini, Magdalena Turska
What constitutes the core of the edition? Its data or its presentation? In the world of printed critical editions the two things were forcefully tangled; in the electronic world they can be (and often are) separated. Is it possible to think of a digital critical edition as a collection of “pure data”? Or is a presentation layer fundamental to the concept of “edition”?