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Humanist Archives: Feb. 21, 2019, 6:16 a.m. Humanist 32.478 - Coda to the McGann-Renear debate

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 478.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                       www.dhhumanist.org
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org




        Date: 2019-02-19 18:51:50+00:00
        From: desmond.allan.schmidt@gmail.com
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.471: coda to the McGann-Renear debate

On 2/19/19, Hugh Cayless wrote:

> But I’d push back hard against the idea that digital editions are pointless
> unless easier. I want there to be space for doing digital editions that are
just
> as rigorous as their print analogues and at the same time *better* for being
> digital. Specifically, I want a world where students are not required to cross
> over into expensive, scarce print editions in order to do serious work; where
> the first edition they encounter online might be the *best* edition.

What this seems to imply for me is that print editions are *best*, and
that seeking
for an archetype using a scientific method is the hallmark of what makes a great
digital edition also. I actually think the digital medium calls into
question the
whole idea of "rigour". If manuscript editions were not especially rigorous why
should digital editions be so? Didn't the truly scientific methods of
editing arise
only with print? I don't mean that textual criticism did not exist
before print, but
it was not the same thing. The requirement that only one version of a
text could be represented drove the whole design and method of print.
The immense changes
brought about by digital media: from stable->ephemeral,
immutable->flexible, expensive->cheap, lifeless->interactive must have
a profound effect on what
makes a good digital edition. I don't think it should just be a copy
of a print edition
that is "*better* for being digital".

And to counterpoint your assertion that this is the strength of TEI, I
think it is
actually its weakness: historically a print system of hierarchies,
nested headings,
chapters, paragraphs, and formats gave rise to tagging systems: the elements and
attributes are actually the old functions and parameters of explicit print
instructions (e.g. .indent 10) that gradually evolved into
"generalised" markup. Go
back in time step by step and you will see that it is so. So print is
still embodied
in GML->SGML->XML. If we truly want to make *digital* editions we have
to get off the
train and hire a scooter, and go where we want, not to where the old
technology tells
us we must keep going.

Desmond Schmidt
eResearch
Queensland University of Technology

On 2/19/19, Humanist  wrote:
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 471.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>
>         Date: 2019-02-19 02:20:03+00:00
>         From: Hugh Cayless 
>         Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.467: the McGann-Renear debate
>
> I think it’s unlikely this over-extended argument can have a resolution, so
> we
> should probably drop it. I have my reservations about Desmond’s theory of
> editing layers, but for the record, I’m fully in support of folks who want
> to
> publish open access editions using techniques other than TEI. I’m
> sympathetic to
> the resource constraints faced by many among us, as well as the gaps that
> have
> been created by our tendency to focus on canonical works. Efficiently
> addressing
> those gaps is vital, and while TEI might be a useful tool in your kit, it
> also
> might not be, depending on your circumstances.
>
> But I’d push back hard against the idea that digital editions are pointless
> unless easier. I want there to be space for doing digital editions that are
> just
> as rigorous as their print analogues and at the same time *better* for
> being
> digital. Specifically, I want a world where students are not required to
> cross
> over into expensive, scarce print editions in order to do serious work;
> where
> the first edition they encounter online might be the *best* edition. I see a
> big
> role for TEI there. I see it as a powerful tool precisely because it can
> accommodate more than one view of the text at the same time. And because,
> despite its associations with the OHCO theory, it is not in thrall to any
> particular hierarchical model of text.
>
> All the best,
> Hugh


--
Dr Desmond Schmidt
Mobile: 0481915868 Work: +61-7-31384036




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