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Humanist Archives: March 15, 2019, 5:15 a.m. Humanist 32.549 - Illusions of Progress & the price of manipulability

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 549.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

    [1]    From: Raffaele Viglianti 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress... (113)

    [2]    From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
           Subject: Fwd: [Humanist] 28.129 the price of manipulability (53)

    [3]    From: Jim Rovira 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress... (104)

    [4]    From: Martin Mueller 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress... (28)

        Date: 2019-03-14 22:44:50+00:00
        From: Raffaele Viglianti 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress...

Dear Herbert,

While I'm thankful that you have pointed out this error so that we can
correct it, I felt no urgency in answering your query from last week as I
don't think this specific issue disqualifies our approach to text encoding,
the use of hierarchies, or stand-off.

You have indeed located an error in the encoding in the Shelley-Godwin
Archive (S-GA) and it will be fixed. If you happen to notice other errors
in the encoding (they do happen unfortunately), please consider reporting
them on GitHub https://github.com/umd-mith/sga

Also note that we (S-GA) are not producing a critical apparatus as part of
the scope of the project and that S-GA and the Frankenstein Variorum
mentioned by Elisa are two different endeavors.

For those interested in taking a better look at this specific case, follow
this link which will show the manuscript page next to the XML encoding:

By looking at the manuscript, it is clear where Percy Shelley's (PBS)
intervention is located, and we recorded it incorrectly. A better encoding
would be:

  {line}Those events which materially influence our fu{/line}
    {line}ture destinies {del rend="strikethrough"}are{/del} often {mod}
        {del rend="strikethrough"}caused by{/del}
        {add hand="#pbs" place="superlinear"}derive thier origin from
      {del rend="strikethrough"}by slight or{/del} tri{/line}
    {line}vial occurence{del rend="strikethrough"}s{/del}.

Recording PBS hand only on the addition was a specific decision we made (as
opposed to identifying the whole mod and neighboring deletions as belonging
to PBS alone). We were interested in his additions in particular, which are
indexed, searchable, and can be visualized to show the volume of text
authored by Mary Shelley against his limited interventions. There is no
right or wrong in this, in my opinion, only choices.


On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 2:58 AM Humanist  wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 544.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>         Date: 2019-03-14 00:32:42+00:00
>         From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
>         Subject: Illusions of Progress? (Frankenstein Variorum)
> since the Frankenstein Variorum project is sermoning about hierarchies in
> general they obviously wouldn't answer my (stupid? annoying?) questions
> addressed to Raffaele Vigilanti last week. Maybe the right hand doesn't
> knows what the left does? Or might eventually someone else deny my 
> suspicion that the encoding doesn't represent correctly the structure 
> of the revision process.
> To remember the case I excerpt today from "msCollPrep_c56.xml" (taken from
> GitHub):
> {line}Thoseevents which materially influence our {w ana="start"/}fu{/line}
> {line}ture{w ana="end"/} destinies {delrend="strikethrough"}are{/del} often
> {mod}{del rend="strikethrough"}caused{/del}
> {del rend="strikethrough"}by slight or{/del}
> {add hand="#pbs" place="superlinear"}derivethier origin from a{/add}
> {/mod}
> {wana="start"/}tri{/line}
>  {line}vial{wana="end"/}
> occurence{delrend="strikethrough"}s{/del}....{/line}
> My thesis: every critical apparatus which is aware of the sentence's
> structure
> would distinguish two substiitutions:
> 1. are ... caused by
> --} derive from
> (BTW: the Oxford companion has in his list of changes from MWS to PBS
> "cause"/"derive from"; in the correct form this cahnge would not support
> the
> argument in the contexxt)
> 2. slight or trivial occurences
> --> a trivial occurence.
> 'Interpretative' I think it is disputable what was intended by changing
> one side
> of the causal relationship from plural to singular, and the answer may
> play a
> role in deciding if the reduction from "slight or trivial" to "trivial" is
> dependent from the change of numerus:
> 2a. slight or trivial
> --> trivial
> 2b. occurences
> --> a ... occurence
> Having now consulted via Google Books the original facs ed. (Ch. Robinson)
> I
> have a further question: It seems that the insertion of "a" before
> "occurences"
> has at first resulted in a grammatical discrepancy. Why this phenomenon
> isn't
> encoded?
> Regards, Herbert

        Date: 2019-03-14 22:09:11+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
        Subject: Fwd: [Humanist] 28.129 the price of manipulability


reading Richrd Cunningham's posting sent this morning maybe you have remembered
what you was writing some years ago:

-----Urspr├╝ngliche Mitteilung-----
Von: Humanist Discussion Group 
Verschickt: Di, 17. Jun. 2014 23:57
Betreff: [Humanist] 28.129 the price of manipulability


> Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2014 07:48:51 +1000
> From: Willard McCarty 
> Subject: partial and inexhaustible
> In-Reply-To: <20140615201356.40D8E6240@digitalhumanities.org>

Let me take a run at getting this matter of manipulability's price right
in the simplest possible terms: that the model is not less than the
modelled nor more but different, that what you get is always with
respect to the question you're asking. Another way of putting it would
be: not the inexhaustible artefact versus the limited model but both
inexhaustible and always with respect to the question. Note what happens
when the model itself -- and think of the simplest possible model --
becomes historically interesting.

One might say that each reasoning instrument shows a different view, but
that suggests the out-there versus the in-here. I am suggesting, as
Jerry McGann said about texts, that no object of study is
self-identical, or as Peter Galison has said, that objectivity is
romantic (http://archives.acls.org/op/op47-3.htm#galison).



Remembering too the dislike of Michael Sperberg-McQueen (Nov 2018) with regards
to McGann's quantum analogy, should I wonder about those differeces in

BTW: Following Grice's conversational maxims one could agree that one of Desmond
Schmidt's core arguments has no other meaning as what you, Willard, was posting
in 2014, isn't it?


        Date: 2019-03-14 15:19:27+00:00
        From: Jim Rovira 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress...

Thanks for the responses, Desmond, and for your contributions to this list.

I think my best response to you is in fact a response to Richard's comment

"At the risk of over-simplifying, an analogy might be to say that the
person measuring the field with a yard stick finds that the field is
naturally 50 yards long, while the person using a metre stick finds it to
be naturally 45 3/4 metres long.  It's not a very good analogy, but it
communicates the corruptive influence of the gauge in the process."

It's that word "corruptive" that gets me, as if the field itself were a
"natural" phenomenon susceptible to "corruption" by our measurements.

The "field" isn't a natural phenomenon, though -- even if we really were
just talking about a big expanse of grass. The fact that we get two
different measurements means we've set boundaries to it. We create the
field in our minds before we even think about measuring it. We create it
when we use the word "field." Grass and dirt doesn't know what it is or
where it begins or ends and doesn't care. That's all the more true when
we're talking about textual products, which don't exist independently of
any convention used to represent them. The text and the convention are the
same thing. The text is created by the convention. When we talk about
different editions of Shakespeare, we're talking about different
conventions. The editions used for casual reading are different from those
used for professional study, and different yet again for use in performance
by actors and directors, different still again in the actual act of
performance (which we have to divide up into stage and screen), and then
different yet again for those used for encoding. The point isn't which text
is the "real" text, but of what set of textual conventions are best
followed for our purposes.

I think these questions here are very revealing:

"May I ask if you can recognise topic sentences 100% reliably? And are you
confident that someone analysing that same text would always come up with
the exact same result?"

"100% reliably," and "always" come up with the "exact same result." It's
the same kind of thinking, as if the object had a *singular*, *pure* existence
independent of the conventions we use to represent it, that it must be
preserved without "corruption," and that its existence can only be *one
kind of thing and only one*, so that if we get it "right" we come up with
the* same results* *every time*. My previous post attempted to emphasize
that not all texts are the same. I would answer "yes" to your question
about some texts but "no" to others. Five paragraph student essay? Yes
every time. Longer papers? First year writing instructors get together and
score student papers using rubrics everywhere across the country. They work
these questions out regularly. But Finnegans Wake? No.

I think there are better ways to think about these questions. We should be
talking instead about what kinds of results we want from any future edition
of a text and how best to get them. I imagine sometimes that will be in
non-hierarchical models, and sometimes in hierarchal models, but I think
choosing our models based on the results we want rather than thinking any
model will get us to the one true, ideal, uncorrupted text is a better way
to approach the question.

Jim R
Dr. James Rovira 
Bright Futures Educational Consulting

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        Date: 2019-03-14 14:46:01+00:00
        From: Martin Mueller 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.544: Illusions of Progress...

´╗┐Some things just aren't so.  Desmond Schmidt in a response to James Cummings

     I can't help noticing that all
    the printers of Shakespeare until the advent of SGML had no need of
    hierarchies to produce books that everyone could read. They just put
    black marks on a page, not caring if the text was divided conceptually
    into acts, scenes, speeches and lines because every reader could
    already see it.

Whatever printers did or didn't do in a print world, they didn't just "put black
marks on a page".  They used elaborate conventions of white space and
typographical marks (including letters and numbers) to communicate a sense of
structure to their readers. Leave aside the question whether the structure was
theirs or the author's, and leave aside the question whether they "got it
right".  Any printed page is full of "mark-up" and most of the time the mark-up
doesn't change from page to page. From my very brief career as a student of
German literature I remember a lecture about Hoffman's Tomcat Murr, which begins
with a printer's apology. He had two print jobs: printing Murr's autobiography
and the biography of the musician Kreisler. He left the windows open: a storm
scattered the leaves and all the printer could do was to put together the pages
as he found them.

The charm of that fiction depends on a shared understanding of what printers
ordinarily do. File this posting--and many of the others prompted by Desmond
Schmidt's reflections--under Order and its Discontents.

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