Digital Editing Now

7 January 2016 - 9 January 2016

CRASSH (SG1&2), Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT

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£45 full fee/£25 student fee (does not include conference dinner)
£85 full fee/£65 student fee (includes conference dinner on the 8th January at St John's College)



Andrew Webber (German & Dutch)
Orietta Da Rold (English)
Mike Hawkins (Digital Humanities Network)
Lauren Kassell (History and Philosophy of Science)
Laura Moretti (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
John Rink (Music) 
Jason Scott-Warren (English)
Chris Stokoe (Cambridge Digital Library)



In recent years, there has been a significant shift in scholarly culture and funding strategies towards digital formats for edition projects. This is driven by the potential for new forms of production, presentation and access that the digital promises. And it involves a reassessment of the conventions that have determined editorial practice in the age of print. With a number of digital edition projects underway or recently completed in Cambridge — projects of different scales, working on varied materials and across a range of disciplinary frameworks — this is a propitious time to gather interested parties together to exchange ideas about the state of digital editing and its future potential. This conference will also provide the opportunity to ask critical questions about the limits of the digital. How should we place ourselves relative to fundamental issues of authority/openness, durability/fluidity? Can we establish a set of ideal types for digital editorial method, or would its optimal strengths rather lie in more hybrid forms, including a productive mode of cohabitation with the print formats that it appears to want to supersede?

The conference is associated with the AHRC-funded project, ‘A Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler’ ( It is also supported by CRASSH and by the Case Books Project, funded by the Wellcome Trust (

While the conference will be fully open in historical and disciplinary terms, the exchange that is proposed here will be focused around four key sets of concerns, which cut across differences of material and context:

  • Material texts and digital forms 

What possibilities does digital editing provide to do justice to the material character of the texts it seeks to present, to their physical bedding and the means of their inscription? Can it find creative and meaningful ways of getting close to the experience of the archive? And how does it respond to the need for the kinds of durability and reliability associated with its physical counterparts?

Convenors: Lauren Kassell (HPS), Jason Scott-Warren (English)

  • Editorial agents and agencies (providers in various roles and users) 

Digital editions are the collaborative product of a range of types of expertise. They bring different agents together (academics, archivists, information technologists) in what can be a delicate process of negotiation between systems of knowledge. At the same time, users — expert and otherwise — experience, and in some cases reconfigure, digital editions, in various ways. How can the collective agency of these networks be made most fruitful?

 Convenors: Orietta Da Rold (English), Chris Stokoe (UL)

  • Chronology and topography (genetic and diplomatic methods)

Critical editions always have to deal with the tension between presenting the historical genesis of their material and the spatial lay-out of its iterations. How can digital functions convey the relations between the two in dynamic and enlightening fashion?

 Convenors: Mike Hawkins (HPS), Laura Moretti (Japanese)

  • Digital edition and performance practices

Digital editing offers the means to open up and enliven a range of different cultural materials. How might it provide a new basis for performance practices, in both live and digitally mediated forms, and in combinations of the two? And how might this extend beyond material self-evidently for performance (music, drama) to other types of resource?  

Convenors: John Rink (Music), Andrew Webber (German)



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), the AHRC-funded Schnitzler Digital Edition project and the Wellcome Trust-funded Casebooks project.


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Day 1 — Thursday 7th January 2016






Keynote 1

  • Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford): Curating the Object / Editing the Text: authors’ manuscripts in the age of digital reproduction



Panel 1: Material texts and digital forms 

  • Hans Walter Gabler (Munich): Revision in the material void between documents
  • Rob Iliffe (Sussex): Citability and the robustness of a digital edition
  • Ben Outhwaite (Cambridge): The digital storeroom: editing the Cairo Genizah
18.15 onwards

Posters, buffet and performances (at the Faculty of Music)

Digital Poster Presentations:

  • Helen Brown (Oxford): How can digital media illuminate the material connectivity of Alexander Pope’s letters?
  • Anna Cappellotto (Verona/Cologne): Evaluating digital scholarly editing: a status quaestionis
  • Andrew Dunning (Toronto): Placing sustainable boundaries on material encoding in a technology-independent edition
  • Vanessa Hannesschläger (Austrian Academy of Sciences): Digital paths to material objects: Online projects of literary archives
  • Fabian Kassner (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW)/University of Rostock): Uwe Johnson-Werkausgabe (The Complete Works of Uwe Johnson)
  • David Peterson (Burgos): The ecology of cartularies: deconstructing and reconstructing the Becerro Galicano
  • Timo Stösser (Tübingen): A Systematic Approach to Digital Literary Annotation
  • Charlotte Tournier and Océane Puche (Université Lille 3): The TALIE Project : Digital Editing of Ancient Classical Texts for Both Specialists and Non-Specialists
  • Lucia Vannini (University College London): Encoding virtually reunified papyri




Schnitzler Project Presentation:

  • Frederick Baker (Cambridge): Story Spheres: Experiencing Schnitzler in the Round


Illustrated Lecture:

  • John Rink (Cambridge): Variorum Performance(s) of Chopin

Day 2 — Friday 8th January 2016


Keynote 2

  • Andrew Prescott (Glasgow): Avoiding the Rear-View Mirror



Panel 2: Editorial agents and agencies

  • Roland S. Kamzelak (DLA, Marbach): Digital Editions in the Semantic Web
  • Alison Pearn (Cambridge): 'The definitive edition': a fleeting delusion?
  • Jane Winters (IHR, London): I'm an editor, you're a content owner, she's a contributor ...



Keynote 3

  • Elena Pierazzo (Grenoble): Digital Scholarly Editing: the platonic and the heraclitean texts

Panel 3.1: Chronology and topography

  • Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken (Frankfurt): Towards the genetic online-edition of Goethe’s Faust



Panel 3.2: Chronology and topography

  • Wolfgang Lukas (Wuppertal): Multiperspectivism in the new digital edition of Schnitzler
  • Lauren Kassell and Rob Ralley (Cambridge): Editing Simon Forman's "Boock of Judgmentes" (c. 1606–1611)
  • Dirk Van Hulle (Antwerp): Creative Undoing and Digital Genetic Editing

Conference Dinner (St John's College)

Day 3 — Saturday 9th January 2016


Panel 4: Digital edition and performance practices

  • Thomas Betzwieser (Frankfurt): Work vs. performance: the digital approach to performance (practice) in “OPERA” and “Freischütz Digital”
  • Christie Carson (RHUL): Shakespeare and the Digital World – The conflict between scholarship and global capitalism
  • John Rink (Cambridge): Turning over a new leaf: towards a digital edition of Chopin



Concluding round-table

  • Keynote 1: Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford)

Curating the Object / Editing the Text: authors’ manuscripts in the age of digital reproduction

The term ‘manuscript’ covers two kinds of evidence: scribal and physical. That is, manuscripts are inscriptions (texts) and their supports (objects); and when we talk of a manuscript we refer to both writing and paper: the literary manuscript and the physical manuscript. This identity appears especially compelling in manuscripts written in the author’s own hand. Photo-facsimile editions that gesture towards the complicity of word and object have a long and contentious history, supplementing and unpicking the normalizing activities of the print editor. With rare exceptions, they have not contributed to the work of scholarly editing. This is less to be explained by Walter Greg’s pithy verdict that ‘photographic reproductions are reliable but illegible’ and has more to do with the fact that, traditionally, scholarly theories and practices of representation have been abstract and synoptic rather than visual. How is the relationship of editor to text refigured by the new digital technologies of reproduction? More especially, is the work of the editor of literary manuscripts better served by tools that do not distinguish inscriptions from their supports, texts from objects? 

  • Hans Walter Gabler (Munich)

Revision in the material void between documents

Compositional writing and revision seldom materialises in just one document; commonly, the genetics of texts progresses across document borders. Modelling writing processes through marked-up transcriptions of the sediment of writing and revision on paper into digital storage is still, however, dominantly oriented towards the evidence of and from the single document. Digital genetic editing instead needs to concatenate the phases of text genetics evidenced in a serial progression of composition across document borders. This means at each such border to negotiate a material void in which often enough significant changes take place not documented in themselves, but only through their results. I will exemplify the problem and indicate methods to deal with it from passages in the autograph draft and authorial typescript for Virginia Woolf’s notes towards an autobiography, “Sketch of the Past”.

  • Rob Iliffe (Sussex)

Citability and the robustness of a digital edition

Over the last decade, a number of writers have considered what constitutes a digital edition and how this might differ from a digital ‘archive’ or a digital ‘research environment’. Some of these discussions have been overly divorced from the actual practice of creating a large and primarily born-digital online resource that contains a variety of types of resource (textual, film etc.). In this talk I explore features of older style editing that were constitutive of print editions and which have, or in many cases have not been reproduced or replaced by digital analogues. Apart from the evident requirement that the core data be preserved, curated, searchable and used, editions must be accountable and citable in order to count as archivable objects that are editions recognized as such by the research community.

  • Ben Outhwaite (Cambridge)

The digital storeroom: editing the Cairo Genizah

The study of the Cairo Genizah — a treasure trove of medieval Jewish manuscripts recovered 100 years ago from Fustat, Old Cairo – has been revolutionised by the possibilities of digital imaging and editing. The last ten years have seen huge advances in the digital presentation of the material and opened up the collection to a much larger potential audience, though significant difficulties remain to those who would approach and use it. Beyond digitisation of the manuscripts themselves – more than half a million images –, there has been no single concerted programme of editing the texts online, and different techniques have been used over the years, with varying degrees of success. To what extent can digital editions assist with such difficult material, particularly when the potential audience is from a wide range of disciplines?

  • Helen Brown (Oxford)

How can digital media illuminate the material connectivity of Alexander Pope’s letters?

The eighteenth-century publications of Alexander Pope’s correspondence have received limited and ambivalent critical attention, perhaps due to their tortuous and obscure route into the public domain. Pope, embarrassed by the appearance of his private early letters to Henry Cromwell in Edmund Curll’s 1726 Miscellanea, tricked Curll into publishing an ‘unauthorized’ edition of his correspondence in 1735. This, in turn, conveniently justified the publication of a corrective edition of Pope’s own devising.

Pope’s letters to Cromwell, in their various incarnations, form the foundation of my digital edition of his correspondence. They offer great potential for comparison: Curll’s own ink is scattered over the manuscripts, but his fidelity to them in publication obliged Pope to radically doctor his own text in an attempt to instil it with differentiated authority (as Claude Willan has observed).

Many features of such literary epistolary texts – their connections, material composition, and bibliographical history – are difficult to represent and analyse within the linear, static format of print. The digital format, meanwhile, offers a complex fluidity that accommodates visualized comparison of sequencing, text, and context, as well as incorporation of later clarifications and discoveries. To this end, my work involves collaboration with established digital projects, such as Electronic Enlightenment.

  • Anna Cappellotto (Verona)

Evaluating digital scholarly editing: a status quaestionis

As it is collaborative, interdisciplinary, updatable and interactive, and because it results in a process rather than a product digital scholarly editing reconsiders the nature of its main agents and of the humanities themselves (Orlandi, 1990). As a consequence our understanding of textuality, scholarly edition, editor, and recipient needs to be thoroughly questioned and reconceived in light of the media shift and beyond it (Buzzetti/McGann, 2006; Sahle, 2013). Due to this profound transformation, also evaluating digital scholarly editing requires the establishment of new (or renewed) criteria, which help canonize and disseminate best practices and methodologies, serve the academic institutions to evaluate digital work and help overcome the still existing “credibility gap” between print and digital scholarship (Siemens, 2005). With this regard the American Historical Association has recently claimed that «broadly accepted guidelines for the professional evaluation of digital scholarship have not yet emerged» (2015). Although the increasing amount of digital editions and the publication of several evaluation guidelines (Iannidis 1999; MLA 2011; Sahle 2012) have brought to an intense debate on this issue, there is still no significant sign of commitment from academic institutions (especially in some countries) to propose standards for evaluating digital scholarly editing. The poster will provide a brief overview on the ongoing debate and – on the basis of the existing guidelines – it will try to discuss some of the principles to be taken into account by evaluating scholarly digital editions. 

  • Andrew Dunning (Toronto)

Placing sustainable boundaries on material encoding in a technology-independent edition

A material basis is the key to gaining the trust of readers in a digital edition. While the general public and even researchers have a tendency to assume that older, established texts are more reliable than their digital counterparts, providing every reader with the means to verify editors’ work provides for the first time an opportunity for editors to show conclusively that the opposite is true. Editions of premodern works that fulfil this, however, remain scarce. Lacking established standards for determining what should be included in an edition, it remains difficult either to begin such editions or to develop a shared infrastructure for publishing them. This impasse has come about precisely because of the removal of shared limitations that characterized publishing in a printed format. This can be solved in part through focusing on the methodology of documentary editing and creating four basic levels of encoding that correspond to the potential research questions for which one might desire a text to be used. This allows editors and readers to establish responsible and sustainable methodological boundaries for the use of source material.

  • Vanessa Hannesschläger (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften)

Digital paths to material objects: Online projects of literary archives

In the past few years, literary archives have increasingly made efforts to reach (new) users via digital channels. However, it is interesting to note that the forms of presentation chosen for the projects that make archival material available online often neither rely on traditional modes of philological text processing (editions) nor on established popular structuring of web content (as can be found in social media). Archives develop new ways of structuring content by not providing their entire material online, but rather developing a service for their users by creating ‘maps’, ‘guides’ or ‘paths’ through their material in their digital projects. This poster will discuss these special modes of archival representation online, which involves interpretation by the expert creators of online projects as a vital intermediate step that influences the structure of the online projects as well as the users’ perspective on the material in its digital as well as analogue form. Two Austrian web projects (Handkeonline and Karl Kraus Online) will be used as examples to illustrate this analysis. 

  • Fabian Kassner (Universität Rostock)

Uwe Johnson-Werkausgabe (The Complete Works of Uwe Johnson)

The critical edition on historical principles of the complete works, letters and other writings of Uwe Johnson is an Academy Project of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) based at the University of Rostock. Alongside a reliable printed text with commentary, there will be a digital edition which will use all the possibilities offered by multi-media technology to present the genesis of a particular text, to make the writer’s sources available, to coordinate commentaries and to establish links with sources and other material from across the project. This synoptic linkage of texts with commentaries is particularly appropriate for Johnson because the idea of a ‘single, complete oeuvre’, was essential to his work. His working methods, which rely very heavily on intertextuality and collage, offer perfect examples for the kinds of links and visualizations which can be presented in digital space in a way that is not possible in a book. Specific examples from Johnson’s works will be used to demonstrate the processes needed to link texts and different media, and the impact these have on the editorial process as a whole. The integration of external resources and audiovisual material will also be shown.

  • David Peterson (Burgos)

The ecology of cartularies: deconstructing and reconstructing the Becerro Galicano

Cartularies are medieval codices containing copies of charters. In the absence of original material, they are often the only source for the history of early medieval society, the case with large swathes of northern Spain, the area contemplated in the case we present: the Becerro Galicano. Such volumes are generally ordered topographically, and yet scholars editing such material have tended to reorder it chronologically, deconstructing the contents into units which are not always satisfactorily discrete. Moreover, such an approach obscures the logic lying behind the construction of such volumes, and in doing so significantly compromises our understanding of their contents. Nonetheless, reordering has long been the standard editorial practice, demanded by scholars eager to efficiently trawl and harvest the contents with little regard to the ecology of the codices themselves. Digital editing, however, permits reconciliation between the ecology of the original and the legitimate needs of the scholar for digestable material, allowing for both chronological and codicological access, as well as facilitating the development of search tools. This involves deconstructing the original into discrete units that can they be reordered by the user according to their requirements, reconciliating the ecology of the original volume with the needs of the scholar.

  • Océane Puche and Charlotte Tournier (Université Lille 3)

The TALIE Project : Digital Editing of Ancient Classical Texts for Both Specialists and Non-Specialists

TALIE ("Traditions de l'Antiquité à Lille et dans l'Eurorégion") aims at promoting the cultural heritage derived from Greco-Roman Antiquity in the region of Lille, making it accessible and comprehensible to non-specialists as well as specialists. We want to help the general public to discover some of the treasures (manuscripts, ancient editions of classical texts, including commentaries or translations) conserved in the libraries on the one hand, and to produce scientific editions of some of the Latin texts concerned on the other hand. We have begun to work on the monumental Virgilian commentary of Juan Luis de la Cerda, conserved in its entirety at the "Bibliothèque d’Agglomération de Saint-Omer": we have been translating it into French, and we have been encoding it in XML-TEI. The specificity of this commentary (in three parts, and with a hyper-intertextual orientation), and the large public we aim to, confront us with methodological and technical questions we want to illustrate in our poster. How can our edition allow Classicists, specialists in other fields, and non-specialists, to read this text? How can we use the possibilities offered by digital edition to broaden the modes of reading? 

  • Timo Stösser (Tübingen)

A Systematic Approach to Digital Literary Annotation

Digital annotation was once heralded as a new medium of communication, a claim substantiated by new web technologies over the last decade. The collaborative possibilities in the creation of fluid digital editions found entry into DH’s basic methods, and yet social annotation on a scholarly level is still plagued by problems. Clarity of information and usability is often gained by limiting the interactivity of the final edition (e.g. the Internet Shakespeare Edition) while open social annotation platforms like often forfeit the paratext’s reliability and scholarly parameters for the construction of open knowledge.

My poster will address these challenges by proposing a taxonomy for collaborative digital annotation specifically tailored for the needs of literary interpretation. The demarcation of a set of six core content classes that is augmented by a small-scale level system to signify the content depth allows for a precise handling of factual, as well as interpretive notes. I suggest that this model is flexible enough to annotate different media for various reader types and furthermore accommodate for vastly different interpretive approaches by specifying its system not solely via the content of the annotation but in terms of its structural relations.

  • Lucia Vannini (University College London)

Encoding virtually reunified papyri

Many Greek and Latin papyri, originally belonging to only one roll or codex, are currently scattered among different libraries. While it is not possible to physically rejoin these fragments as they cannot be moved from their location, they may be virtually reunited thanks to the techniques of digitisation, image processing and electronic publishing.

In my presentation, I reflect on how a virtual reunification of the texts, images and metadata of papyrus fragments can be achieved through the realisation of a digital edition, one that requires complex diplomacy among owning institutions.

After outlining the approaches that some existing projects take to the task of virtual reunification, I discuss about which of these approaches might be best for the papyrus fragments under discussion, in terms of durability and reliability of the produced digital object, and what challenges might arise from this proposal. I focus on how a virtual reunification of papyrus fragments can be technically achieved, that is, how the transcription code can present unified information about the papyrus and indicate which portion of text belongs to each fragment. This will hopefully facilitate a systematic analysis of scattered fragments, and allow metadata consolidation from across different libraries.

  • Frederick Baker (Cambridge)

Story Spheres: Experiencing Schnitzler in the Round

The Story Sphere takes the circular form, and combines the visual languages, of the loop and the panorama. It links text, picture, performance and locations into an interactive metafilm that is structured as a network of pathways, rather than a traditional linear narrative form. The network is a fitting image for the labyrinthine intermeshing of relationships that Schnitzler explores in works like "Das weite Land" ("The wide domain"). The internet too is a wide domain, ideal for the exploration of Schnitzler's long life and huge output. Frederick Baker will present a first prototype of his concept of the Story Sphere, developed in collaboration with Alexander Pfeiffer and Martin Müller from the Donau Universität, Krems. This turns the stage of Vienna's Burg Theatre into a hub for the exploration of the author and the play, "The Wide Domain", which had its premiere on the same stage in 1911.

  • Keynote 2: Andrew Prescott (Glasgow)

Avoiding the Rear-View Mirror

Marshall McLuhan coined the term ‘the rear-view mirror’ to describe the way in which our approach to new media is frequently affected by our previous experience of older media, so that printed books are imagined as manuscripts, photographs as paintings, and so on. The effect of the rear-view mirror is evident in many aspects of the engagement of humanities scholars with digital technologies. For example, our approach to the digitization of manuscripts is often shaped by the previous experience of microfilm, while many of the assumptions of digital editing are shaped by the requirements of a printed text. However, the way in which scholars are starting to use and collectively explore such digital resources in the humanities as the Text Creation Partnership or the Old Bailey Proceedings suggests the emergence of collaborative scholarly methods which challenge existing ideas of the edition. This lecture will seek to explore what might happen if we take our eyes off the rear-view mirror.

  • Roland S. Kamzelak (DLA, Marbach)

Digital Editions in the Semantic Web

All editions are digital; by now this is a commonplace. The gathering and processing of data for editions, transcription, annotation, commentary and metadata, whether semantic or technical, works digitally, with computers in the broadest sense. The product or products are digital data at first, later maybe printed pages or e-pubs for e-readers or the World Wide Web. It is also a commonplace that edition data is very high quality data. So in the age of ‘mashups’ it seems useful to provide edition data for mashups as well, for the semantic web.

  • Alison Pearn (Cambridge)

‘The definitive edition’: a fleeting delusion?

To what extent is editing a body of texts in the digital age really different? Billed as the ‘definitive edition’, The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (first grant funding 1975; first volume published 1985 and thirtieth and final volume due to be published in 2022) predates even the idea of the World Wide Web, and has seen the whole transition from index cards and carbon paper, through MUSCAT on a mainframe, to TEI XML and linked data. Its history prompts a number of questions and ought to prompt at least some answers: What is happening to the concept of editorial authority? What is the relationship between printed and digital versions of the same edited text and how is that changing? What do researchers/editors, and readers/users, lose or gain when editing (whatever that is) takes place in only one of those environments? And was the concept of a ‘definitive’ edition ever really viable?

  • Jane Winters (IHR, London)

I’m an editor, you’re a content owner, she’s a contributor …

Scholarly editions have always been the product of collaboration — between an editor and a publisher, between multiple editors, between a researcher and an archive. When we are dealing with digital editions, however, the number of parties involved, and the roles that they might perform, are numerous and changing. Planning a digital edition means taking account of complex relationships, between disciplines and across sectors, with single individuals, with organisations, and potentially even with the crowd. This presentation will address how we negotiate these relationships, how we ensure that differing contributions are both clearly defined and appropriately valued, and ultimately what this means for our understandings of what constitutes an edition and what characterises an editor.

  • Keynote 3: Elena Pierazzo (Grenoble)

Digital Scholarly Editing: the platonic and the heraclitean texts

The re-mediation of scholarly editions from paper to screen has forced editors not only to re-think their way of working, but also to rethink the purpose of editing. One of the goals of editing is thought to be the provision of a stable and reliable text to the readers, however the instability and intrinsic changeability of the digital medium is leading scholars to question on the one hand the suitability of computers as a way for delivering editions, and on the other hand the assumption that texts can indeed be captured in any stable form. But while editors start to question the existence itself of The ONE Text, many digital repositories propose ‘naked’ texts, that is, texts deprived of their paratext and the critical arguments that support and demonstrate such textual multiplicity. EBook formats seem also to contribute to the diffusion of a simplistic and pre-critical understanding of textuality and texts, lacking as they do basic tools such as footnotes and other editorial infrastructures which are often covered by copyright and therefore not included in the free downloadable versions. The digital medium, in all its embodiments (desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, etc.), is shaping the text of the future, but this shape seems to leave little space for editorial critical discourse.

  • Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken (Frankfurt)

Towards the genetic online-edition of Goethe’s Faust

The emerging online-edition of Goethe’s Faust (developed by an interdisciplinary team as cooperation between Freies Deutsches Hochstift/Frankfurt am Main, Universität Würzburg and Klassik Stiftung Weimar) aims at presenting the complete material archive of the manuscripts (2,300 pages written by Goethe and his scribes), providing the user by this means with the basis (data and tools) for genetic interpretations of the drama. The digital archive contains facsimiles, transcriptions and metadata. Diplomatic renderings as well as presentations of the texts and their variants in different forms of critical apparatus are generated automatically from the basic transcripts. It shall be demonstrated how the edition connects topographical and chronological manuscript-information by combining two different encoding-procedures  and how it’s macro-architecture links the areas ‘Archive’ and ‘Text’ through the field of the work’s ‘Genesis’. How does the new edition manage to connect the manuscript witnesses of Goethe’s lifelong working process with the resulting final text? And how does it make use of different conceivable visualizations of the dynamic aspects?

  • Wolfgang Lukas (Wuppertal)

Multiperspectivism in the new digital edition of Schnitzler

At the center of the German-British editorial project “Arthur Schnitzler: Digital historical-critical edition (Works 1904–1931)” are the reconstruction and representation of the textual genesis of Schnitzler’s works. Based on the extensive literary estate (kept mainly in Cambridge University Library and in DLA Marbach), the digital edition will combine the functions of an archive and an edition in itself. The principle of ‘multiperspectivism’ plays a dual role here: it should both allow distinguishable dimensions of the object being edited — material vs. genetic vs. textual dimension — to be visualized, and make legible different viewing excerpts, i.e. textual syntagmas of variable extension — micro- vs. macro-genetic perspective(s). The goal — and challenge — of the Digital Edition is to enable in this manner the user to understand the complex processes of transformation and development, sometimes extending over several decades, in a clear way and to thus allow an insight into the character of Schnitzler’s poetic imagination and aesthetic production.

  • Lauren Kassell and Rob Ralley (Cambridge)

Editing Simon Forman's “Boock of Judgmentes” (c. 1606–1611)

Simon Forman, the Elizabethan astrologer-physician, wrote compulsively: 15,000 manuscript pages of his notes and treatises survive. These include six volumes of records of his medical practice, which, together with those of his protégé, Richard Napier, form one of the largest surviving sets of casebooks in history, containing 80,000 cases from the period 1596 to 1634. Forman provided the key to his methods in a lengthy manual, which he drafted and re-drafted, and one of the versions circulated during his lifetime and beyond—Forman called this ‘The Astrologicalle Judgmentes of phisick and other Questions’, others referred to it as Forman’s ‘Boock of Judgmentes’. The Casebooks Project is preparing a digital edition of Forman’s and Napier’s medical records, and we are including Forman’s ‘Boock of Judgmentes’ amongst the supporting material. This paper sets out the challenges of preparing a digital edition of a didactic text with multiple witnesses.

  • Dirk Van Hulle (Antwerp)

Creative Undoing and Digital Genetic Editing

In the dynamics of literary and other writing processes, creative undoing plays an important role in the dialectics between composition and decomposition. It entails more than just the sum of all deletions and omissions, and therefore it exceeds the realm of traditional collation. Creative undoing comprises all the stages of a work’s genesis (exogenesis, endogenesis and epigenesis) and works both on a microlevel and on a macrolevel. As part of a five-year ERC grant on ‘Creative Undoing and Textual Scholarship’ (CUTS), a series of genetic editions of Beckett’s works in the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project ( will serve as a case study to investigate how digital editing can pay extra attention to creative undoing in order to study textual phenomena across versions, involving genetic paths, computer-assisted collation and the inclusion of a writer’s digitized personal library.

  • Thomas Betzwieser (Frankfurt)

Work vs. performance: the digital approach to performance (practice) in “OPERA” and “Freischütz Digital”

Performance and performance practice are the keywords for operatic / theatrical works and their respective editions. However, this not only concerns the music in the proper sense, but also the connecting ‘media’, such as the libretto, wordbooks, choreography, stage design, etc.

This paper will consider two different approaches to performance. The first is a more traditional one asking in what way performance (history) is relevant when editing a stage work. Using the example of the incidental music to Goethe’s Faust by Peter von Lindpaintner (part of “OPERA — Perspektiven des europäischen Musiktheaters”) the issue of a performance text will be discussed, both for the music and the text. Furthermore, this example allows us to raise the general question of the relationship between work and performance.

The second approach presents an entirely different perspective on performance. It deals instead with the problem of integrating an existing audio document (recording) into an edition. Starting with Frans Wiering’s idea of a “multidimensional model” of a musical edition, the correlation between performance material and recordings will be discussed, especially in respect to the implementation of a (full) digital edition, as has been the primary aim of the network-project “Freischütz Digital”. 


  • Christie Carson (RHUL)

Shakespeare and the Digital World — The conflict between scholarship and global capitalism

In August 2014, as part of the biennial (by invitation only) International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon, I organised a launch for the book I co-edited with Peter Kirwan, Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). In this book, and at this launch, the editors highlighted the ideas of others and put strict limits on our own contributions to the debate. Both Kirwan and I started our academic lives working on large digital projects instigated by senior scholars funded by the AHRC and its predecessor. In the book’s introduction we talk about the need to look back to look forward, with both a sense of nostalgia for the past and a sense of excitement about the possibilities of the future. Throughout this volume we stress the importance of redefining, for each moment, but also for each cultural environment, the parameters of what is meant by ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘the digital’. Defining in 2014 what was meant by ‘good enough’ as it related to texts, but also to teaching students more generally and ‘liveness’ in relationship to performance and communication, we were aware of trying to pin down a moving target. Now less than two years after the book was published these terms need to be redefined again. In this paper I will take the opportunity to address these ideas again with a view to examining what ‘scholarship’ and ‘practice’ might mean in the commercial international educational world we now inhabit.

  • John Rink (Cambridge)

Turning over a new leaf: towards a digital edition of Chopin

Since its inception in 2003, the Online Chopin Variorum Edition has evolved into a resource of c.6,000 digital images of primary source material of the music of Fryderyk Chopin, accompanied by scholarly metadata. This constitutes a virtual edition: users compare the sources to construct an under­standing of their interrelationships and the relevant creative history in what amounts to intertextual, interstitial reading. That understanding, rather than an emergent text, is the basis of the variorum ‘edition’.

OCVE now seeks to create a digital environment of greater practical utility and scope. Given the enormous strides in digital editing over past decades, it seems remarkable that no digital edition of music has yet been produced which meets the conventional needs of performers while also offering unprecedented modes of interacting with and shaping the works they wish to play. This relative lack of progress partly arises from the difficulties encountered in describing musical notation digitally, and it may also be attributable to somewhat  limited dialogue between researchers working on digital editions in general, and those working on digital editions of music more specifically. OCVE’s efforts to find new ways of conceptualizing and modelling digital editions of music will therefore be situated in the context of general developments in and approaches to digital editing, requiring the establishment of productive relations with specialist research teams in the UK and abroad. This paper will describe the work to date and the aspirations for the latest research phase.