Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 489. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com  From: Willard McCarty
Subject: beyond the textual edition? (46)  From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.487: editions, in print or in bytes (160) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-25 05:17:22+00:00 From: Willard McCarty Subject: beyond the textual edition? I've just returned from a very worthwhile conference at Wuppertal, "Annotation in Scholarly Editions and Research: Function, Differentiation, Systematization"*. One of the questions raised there concerned enlarging the subject from specifically textual editions to critical annotative work on other kinds of objects, such as images, sound and material things. One effect this would have would be to remind us not to flee so rapidly from physical realia to immaterial schemata. My particular concern was with human and artificial agencies in the act of note-making and what I called knowing-by-doing -- not just Ryle's 'knowing how' but the knowing in enacting how. The psychology of art would seem a place to go. I would appreciate not just specific pointers into Rudolf Arnheim's work but also any other suggestions that you might have. To my mind the rather feeble attempts to represent the physicality of reading a codex (e.g. the sense of where one is in the book) suggest that we need to think a lot harder about giving up so much to be digital. I'm not saying that everyone who speaks XML has abstracted themselves away from the fully real world, rather that we need to be careful about abandoning inherited and other non-digital ways of working in order to take up these (relatively) new tools. I would be so bold as to say that nothing replaces the face-to-parchment (skin-to-skin) work with manuscripts, even though getting to see these rare items is expensive and time-consuming. Similarly, I'd say that nothing replaces the physical manipulation of notes. Perhaps a Minority Report device could equal index cards on a table or floor, but who could afford that? (You are not hearing the sound of a cane thumping the floor! :-) Yours, WM *(https://www.editionen.uni- wuppertal.de/veranstaltungen/tagungen/annotation/program.html) -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-24 19:54:23+00:00 From: email@example.com Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.487: editions, in print or in bytes Michael, I presume by these two long postings your intention is to swat the annoying fly that I have become. I'm sorry to disappoint you. > At least one > or two participants in the discussion have argued that any attempt to > represent the text of multiple textual witnesses in a single > electronic document will necessarily cause painful difficulties in the > electronic document, and further that the hierarchical structure of > SGML and XML documents makes the difficulties even worse than they > would otherwise be. This is precisely what my model of text addresses and delivers on: Any number of versions in one electronic document, each of which is simple and easy to edit. If you agree here with this summary the SGML/XML model fails us in this essential task. > (However, neither XML nor SGML are relevant for 1980, since neither > existed then.) OK I got the date wrong from memory, it was published in 1986 although it was under development at IBM from 1978 (Goldfarb 1986). > In what sense is a distinction between elements and attributes a > 'legacy of print'? Do all systems for generation of print have such a > distinction? I don't see it in troff, or Runoff, or Script, or TeX, > or LaTeX, or Scribe; am I missing it? I didn't make any claim about those other programs, just GML->SGML->XML. Why divide metadata about the text into elements and attributes at all? You give no explanation. The reason was as I suggested: that the attributes are the arguments to the functions meant to format the text. Goldfarb's description of GML's predecessor, CMS script, took arguments to processing instructions (Goldfarb 1997). GML first had actual attributes, e.g. :h0 id=part2. (GML 1991) > The assumption that "elements and attributes" constitute "metadata" is > also not one I think can be taken for granted. The idea that "markup" > is always and only "metadata" is not hard to find, and is often useful > when teaching beginners the rudiments of markup, but it's hard to take > seriously as a philosophical statement and -- like the concept of > "metadata" itself -- does not (in my limited experience) withstand > sustained scrutiny. I used the term metadata because I just wanted a general term to hang elements and attributes off. Both are "data about data" - the definition in the dictionary - which is good enough for me. In SGML/XML they both describe the text nodes, the content, in layman's terms the stuff not in angle-brackets. They still do that even when we philosophise about whether metadata are also data. >> The deliberate decision to introduce explicit hierarchies >> was another, > Like the preceding sentence, this seems to assume a line of argument > with which I am not familiar. Why should a tree-structured > organization of the input, or the ability to describe a document > format with a context-free grammar, be a legacy of print? Hierarchies were not present in 'generic' or 'generalized' markup products that preceded GML (Goldfarb, 1973). They were not present in COCOA, either, an early humanities markup system, or in many other markup schemes for individual humanities projects before SGML. Goldfarb (1973) explains that hierarchies were added to store the structure envisaged by the typesetter for a particular block of text. In 1986 he explicitly says the hierarchies were introduced into GML, which was primarily aimed at and designed for print. > (1) What leads DS to believe that > processing instructions were originally intended specifically for > printers and not for other processors, such as editors, stylesheet > processors, plotters, or formatting engines (just to stay within a > paper-oriented work flow)? They were in GML. They were originally "Process Specific Controls" to manage the printer directly (GML, 1991, Ch. 11). Sure, later on they were expanded to include other functions, but originally they were for printing instructions only. > I think DS has succumbed here to the intentional fallacy. >> JSON has done away with attributes and even though it is not a >> document format, it shows that they were superfluous. > Of course attributes are superfluous, in the sense that a version of > SGML or XML which lacked them would lose no expressive power ... > This has been known since ... gosh, I > don't know when. Of course I didn't mean that attributes were simply optional in SGML. They are heavily used in TEI. Does XML have attributes in its specification? Yes. Does JSON have attributes in its specification? No. As for your long discussion about what can or cannot be done with interlinked elements I'm afraid my interest in XML waned after 2004 when I saw that it couldn't do what I wanted. IDs and IDREFs are in any case attributes and any *connections* between them are outside the grammar of the language. Nowhere in your extremely long postings do you provide any explanation as to how elements, attributes and hierarchies arose. They did not arrive magically one day on a cloud. They arose from print, and just because the GML->SGML->XML textual model has been widely used for digital text doesn't mean it was designed originally for that purpose. When many digital humanists complain about problems of overlap or interoperability in their texts you have no answer other than to turn those texts into a kind of digital spaghetti of interlinked elements, whose significance and function depend on the encoder and his or her mood on a particular day. We need better. ------------ GML. (1991). GML Starter Set User’s Guide, http:// publibfp.boulder.ibm.com/cgi-bin/bookmgr/BOOKS/ dsm04m00/CONTENTS Goldfarb, C. (1973) Design Considerations for Integrated Text Processing Systems, IBM Cambridge Scientific Center Technical Report No. 320-2094. https://web.archive.org/web/20170702192650/http://www.sgmlsource.com/history/G32 0-2094/G320-2094.htm Goldfarb, C. (1997). SGML: the reason why and the first published hint. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48(7): 656–61. http://www.sgmlsource.com/history/jasis.htm Goldfarb, C. (1996). The Roots of SGML – A Personal Recollection, http://www.sgmlsource.com/history/roots.htm Hockey, S. and Martin, J. (1988). The Oxford Concordance Program. Oxford: Oxford University Computing Service. (for COCOA) ----------------------- Katherine, when you said: > I'm less interested in the who's in and who's discussion and more > interested in how to expand the digital scholarly edition beyond the > limitations of the codex without having to spend $1million+ to get it done. I couldn't agree more. But the problem with existing standards is that $1million cost for a digital scholarly edition is no exaggeration. Instead I want to make them easy for anyone to create and maintain without specialised technical training. I'm not sure though that the MLA are in a position to assess the technical or practical issues surrounding the creation of digital scholarly editions (DSEs). The theoretical stuff sounds fine (I only had time to read "Scholarly Edition in the Digital Age"). I'm all for the ideals expressed there, but the interoperability of XML is just assumed. It isn't true for DSEs. Desmond Schmidt eResearch Queensland University of Technology _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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