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tiruncula in medievalstudies

Textual editing software bleg

Dear Medievalists,

I am getting ready to start work on a critical edition, and I wondered whether anyone had recommendations for software to help organize the collation process. Or perhaps a creative adaptation of a common database program? Any suggestions gratefully received. (FYI, my text is fairly short, but I have around 25 mss.)



Thanks! I use Scrivener on the Mac and love it for writing and managing but I was thinking about something in which to enter and collate all the readings. I guess what I need is something database-y.
Oop-sorry to be opaque. OK, so I have 25 manuscripts of a text, each of which has a different selection of variants or errors. I need to type up the text as it appears in one manuscript and then have an efficient way to record the places where each of the remaining 24 manuscripts disagrees with the first one I transcribed. Once I've done all that, it would be wonderful to be able to select the entries for two or more mss to compare them side by side.
No problem. It's helpful for me to be able to articulate what I need.

Being able to compare ms images so I could do all the transcription onscreen would in principle be useful, but in this case I don't think it'll be worth the time and expense. Some of my mss are already digitized and online, and others are in microfilm. I can imagine spending months fiddling with getting everything in a compatible format to no ultimate benefit to the textual project.

Really, the database is going to be useful for comparing the results of my reading of the ms images - that is, for me to put columns of Latin text I've typed side by side. That makes it easier, I guess, because the database only needs to contain text, not images.
The prof for my Vernacular Textual Editing course has been using Macclade (macclade.org/macclade.html) in his work. It is designed for biologists, but you can use it to create a stemma and organize groups of varients.
Thank you!!!
you're welcome. i was quite thrilled when he showed us his use of the software and hope to use it myself eventually.
Hi there! I think the most widely used software for critical editions is CTE (Classical Text Editor). Designed for classical philologists, but of course medievalists can use it without adaptation as well.

Read about it:

Get it:
Thank you, too!!!
Then there's those of us who just use TEI without a front end. :)
It's on my to-do list to learn TEI this summer. But - and forgive my ignorance, because I haven't used TEI yet and have only attended discussions of projects that use it - TEI per se wouldn't be any use in doing collation and recension, would it? From the description of Classical Text Editor in the wiki linked above, CTE is not a front end for TEI, but rather is capable of creating TEI-compliant output. TEI would seem to me to be useful for creating an electronic text after the editorial judgments have been made, but not so much for organizing the work preparatory to making those editorial judgments. Or am I wrong?
Well, it depends :) --one can encode texts in TEI and run analyses upon those files, adjusting from that what ought to display, or one can establish one's edition and encode only the result. The latter is what you've mentioned, I think; the former is a better use of TEI, since one could encode one's output in any of a variety of XML-based formats. I have the habit of encoding transcriptions on the fly when visiting repositories or seeing film/scan images for the first time (my text and related materials are shortish).

Naturally, if one encodes first, on the plus side one can semi-automate some collation features (without using a database, as I believe CTE does--not that that matters), and on the minus side one must devise an alternative means of output. The plus side of *that*, however, which I appreciate, is that one can use tags and attributes and special characters (if desired) as the texts seem to require, rather than being limited to the output expectations that someone else has devised. I might want to be able to quote examples from my marked-up documents of different contexts for initial capitals, e.g., which is not the sort of thing prepackaged editing solutions tend to encompass.
This is REALLY helpful - thanks! - and suggests I ought to wait to start transcription in earnest until I've done the TEI workshop, and that should take questions like this to the workshop.


You might well, since you've mentioned summer, but do you know about DHSI? (Don't tell me whether you're going--I am not, but I know DHSI is small enough that someone who did go would be able to guess your name very easily.)

Re: p.s.

I did get the announcement for that and I would love to go, but this summer I'm going to do something similar that's geographically closer to me. Next time DHSI comes around, I'd love to plan ahead and do one of their courses.