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Digital Scholarly Editing

Matthew James Driscoll
Elena Pierazzo

1. Introduction: Old Wine in New Bottles?

Matthew James Driscoll et Elena Pierazzo

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  • 1 See the outline of the event on the website: (...)

1In the past few years we have succeeded in raising the profile of digital editing; networks, conferences, events, training, journals and publications–nothing seems able to stop the stream of scholarly contributions within the field of textual scholarship around the world. The present book is part of this development, and highlights some of the work done between 2011 and 2015 under the auspices of NeDiMAH, the Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities, which has been funded by the European Science Foundation with the aim to reflect on and provide guidance in a wide range of fields within the Humanities at the time of their conversion to the digital medium. One of the workgroups within NeDiMAH, chaired by the editors of the present publication, has been devoted to digital scholarly editing. During the lifetime of the workgroup we have organised three dedicated events and a panel within the 2013 annual conference of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), held at the Università La Sapienza in Rome, as well as sponsoring the participation of young scholars in relevant workshops and trainings. This book represents an enriched version of the second of these events, which was held on 21 November 2012 at the Huygens Institute in The Hague.1 We called the one-day event an ‘expert seminar’, as it was attended by some of the most authoritative voices in the field; but an emerging field needs new voices too, and so we also invited a number of early career researchers. The current publication reflects the same richness, authoritativeness and openness to the future, featuring contributions by established and emerging scholars in roughly equal measure.

  • 2 See the DiXiT website at
  • 3 Elena Pierazzo, ‘Disciplinary Impact: The Effect of Digital Editing’, Digital Humanities 2015, Uni (...)
  • 4 See Peter A. Stokes, ‘Teaching Manuscripts in the “Digital Age”’, in Kodikologie und Paläographie (...)
  • 5 See

2The experience of the NeDiMAH workgroup has been extremely positive, and we have now passed the baton to another network, namely the DiXiT, funded by the European Commission via a Marie Curie Action.2 In fact, DiXiT not only sees the participation of many of the people present in this publication, but was built on that very experience; DiXiT provides training for early career researchers and organises events on digital scholarly editing, the impact of which will be assessed in the next few years, but promises to be considerable.3 As for training, in the past few years many initiatives have characterised the textual scholarship scene, particularly in Europe. For instance, since 2009 the graduate training programme Medieval/Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age (MMSDA) has provided foundational training in digital methods to graduate students;4 the MMSDA experience has been repurposed in a condensed version as a tutorial during the preliminary phases of the Digital Humanities conference in Sydney (2015). More recently, the Erasmus Plus network on DEMM (Digital Editing of Medieval Manuscripts)5 has started to provide advanced training for MA and PhD students. On the publication side, one cannot but make a reference to the online journal Scholarly Editing, the content of which is not exclusively on digital topics, but its provision of digital editions as part of its content represents an innovative and exciting approach to some of the issues of support and sustainability discussed in this book.

3In addition, large numbers of articles and monographs are appearing, demonstrating on the one hand the dynamicity within the field and on the other the compelling need of the community to discuss the changes and the implications brought by computers. It is evident that something is radically changing in the scholarly editing world: the way we work, the tools we use to do such work and the research questions to which we try to give answers–all of these have changed, in some case beyond recognition, with respect to the older print-based workflow.

  • 6 This quotation, widely attributed to McLuhan, does not actually feature in any of his books; it do (...)

4These changes have produced a compelling need to reflect on the implications of such changes from a theoretical and practical point of view, assessing if the changes in the way we work (the heuristics of editing) are determining also changes in the understanding of scholarly editing and of the texts we edit (the hermeneutics of editing). We know how there has always been an intimate relationship between what instruments make it possible to observe and measure and what sort of research scientists undertake: ‘we shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us’, in the words attributed to Marshall McLuhan.6

5What seems even more compelling, however, is to understand what digital scholarly editing actually is: is it a new discipline or a new methodology? Are we simply putting ‘old wine in new bottles’, or are we doing something which has never been done–indeed, never been doable–before?

6Several years ago a series of conferences devoted to ‘Supporting Digital Humanities’ were held under the auspices of the two big European Humanities research infrastructure projects DARIAH (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and the Humanities) and CLARIN (Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure). The theme for the second of these, held in Copenhagen in 2011, was ‘Answering the unaskable’, the idea being that digital technologies have the potential to transform the types of research questions that we ask in the Humanities, allowing us not only to address traditional questions in new and exciting ways, but ultimately also to formulate research questions we would never have been able to ask without access to large quantities of digital data and sophisticated tools for their analysis.

7This assertion has been questioned, but research questions change constantly, and always have, even as our perception of the world changes, in keeping with our ability to perceive it.

8In order to respond to this question it is perhaps worth examining what has actually changed for textual scholars owing to the introduction of computers, the first revolution being access.

Locating primary sources

9For the textual scholar the availability of online catalogues principally means the ability to locate manuscripts and other primary sources more easily and quickly than has hitherto been the case. This was the dream underlying the MASTER project (1999–2001) and many similar attempts at union catalogues of (European medieval) manuscripts: being able to search in all repositories everywhere at the same time. The CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries) portal, ENRICH (European Networking Resources and Information Concerning Cultural Heritage), the Schoenberg database, Manuscriptorium in Prague, Digital scriptorium in the US, eCodices in Switzerland, TRAME in Italy–not to mention the online catalogues of major libraries such as the British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Harvard University Library and so on–have all improved access to primary and secondary sources and have therefore had a huge impact on the day-to-day work of scholars and editors. Most of these efforts have been made possible by the conscious use of established standards and protocols, since it is only the quality and interoperability of the metadata which make it possible to query multiple databases simultaneously.

Digital images

  • 7 Meg Twycross, ‘Virtual Restoration and Manuscript Archaeology’, in The Virtual Representation of t (...)
  • 8 Elena Pierazzo, Digital Scholarly Editing: Theories, Models and Methods (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), (...)

10Once you have found your primary sources you can, in many cases, now view digital images of them, sometimes high-resolution images which are (some would say) better than the originals. One cannot really overestimate the impact that such digital images have had on editorial work: the ready availability of digital facsimiles represents such a huge leap forward that some scholars have even been tempted to say that ‘we need never see the document itself’.7 An animated debate surrounds and questions the pervasive use of digital images in manuscript studies, however, lamenting their lack of embodiment and the possibility of misunderstanding or overlooking some crucial codicological feature;8 but it is undeniable that digital images have changed greatly the way many manuscript scholars work–even if too many online digital libraries still have far too little in terms of navigational aids to be of any great use to scholars. The uneven quality of the digital images, as well as, in many cases, the lack of a systematic programme of digitisation, give more the impression of a patchwork quilt than of a reliable research tool; there is still room for improvement in this area.

  • 9 See the three volumes published by the IDE (Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik) Kodikologie (...)
  • 10 See Tal Hassner, Malte Rehbein, Peter A. Stokes and Lior Wolf, ‘Computation and Palaeography: Pote (...)

11The availability of digital images has also encouraged the development of digital palaeography and quantitative codicology,9 as well as research on automatic handwriting recognition and OCR for manuscripts and early printed books.10 This research has not yet produced reliably working products, but much more is to be expected in the coming years.

Transcribed texts

12There is a vast number of electronic versions of cultural heritage texts freely available on the Internet. Many of them, unfortunately, are all but unusable, for a variety of reasons. They may be the result of uncorrected (‘dirty’) OCR taken from old, out of copyright editions, and may therefore bear little resemblance to their originals; or they may be totally missing the critical apparatus, which copyright status and the difficulty of representation on a scrollable page are the main reasons for its rare appearance alongside the main text (see the chapter by Cynthia Damon in the present volume, pp. 201–18). The result is that without the apparatus the reader cannot have any real idea what he or she is actually reading. One could–and people regularly do–argue that the availability of these mutilated texts is better than nothing, but in many ways these texts are actually worse than nothing, since they are misleading and fuel the idea that texts exist outside the dialectic between documents and editors, and that editions can possibly establish texts once and for all, undermining in this way the very survival of textual scholarship itself, as argued by Elena Pierazzo in this volume (pp. 41–58).

13Proper digital editions, although certainly on the increase, are unfortunately still few and far between.

Crunching the data

  • 11 See the project website:
  • 12 See the description of this method from the scholar’s blog: (...)

14But none of this, arguably, is fundamentally different from what we as textual scholars have always done, the only difference being that we can now process much larger amounts of data more quickly than has previously been possible for one person. What is new in these approaches is that we are now able to process these huge amounts of data in new ways, collating, for example, the socio-economic status of the scribes and/or commissioners of manuscripts with the format and the layout of the page, density of the text and the nature/genre of the work being copied, as it develops over time and geographical area. This is the approach chosen by the SfarData project, which aims to locate, classify and identify all extant dated Hebrew manuscripts from the Middle Ages.11 It is also the approach of Jesse Hurlbut, who has developed a method for analysing the overall layout of manuscript pages, which he calls ‘the manuscript average’.12

15But, as with the creation of large catalogues and meta-catalogues of manuscripts, unleashing the potential of this approach depends on the interoperability of data, which means using a common standard.

Automatic collation, stemmatology and cladistic methods

  • 13 Peter L. Shillingsburg, Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age: Theory and Practice (Ann Arbor: Uni (...)
  • 14 Caroline Macé and Philippe V. Baret, ‘Why Phylogenetic Method Work: The Theory of Evolution and Te (...)

16Computers have been used since their inception to try to relieve what Peter Shillingsburg has called the ‘idiot work’ of textual editing.13 Automatic collation and the automatic generation of stemmata are still in their infancy–or at least not as far advanced as one might have wished–but as interest increases and more sophisticated applications are being developed there is hope for significant breakthroughs in the foreseeable future; and here too, much depends on the use of accepted standards. The cladistic (or phylogenetic) method is perhaps the only born-digital method available in textual scholarship, since it is based on heavy computational techniques and has arisen through interdisciplinary collaboration between textual scholars, computer scientists and bio-geneticists.14


  • 15 See, for instance, the paper presented by Peter A. Stokes at the Digital Humanities conference (Sy (...)

17The necessity of using accepted standards has been mentioned in connection with most of the previous items, and indeed it is hard to overestimate the importance of the establishment of common standards for metadata, transcription of texts and the description of events, people and dates. In fact, the development of tools and software able to ‘crunch’ data that can lighten editorial work and guide scholars into new territories requires the establishment of a shared vocabulary and baseline understanding of the most common features of such editorial work. This is perhaps the area where research has advanced the most: the early establishment of the Text Encoding Initiative–in 1986, before the development of the World Wide Web–has been fundamental to the development of the very idea of digital scholarly editing. But in spite of early and widespread use of the TEI in all stages of editing, much is still to be done. The ‘problem’ with the TEI is that its comprehensiveness and flexibility make it hard for developers to create meaningful tools that can serve more than one project at a time. Nonetheless, the effort toward standardisation has made it possible to develop an international, transdisciplinary community that is interested in digital editing. Furthermore the existence of the TEI as a standard for many aspects of editorial work is now helping to highlight areas where standardisation is yet to be found–or there are too many competing standards; in other words, the standardisation operated by the TEI has whetted our appetite for more. In fact, in spite of the influential models offered by the TEI and by the various standards promoted by the Library of Congress, comprehensive authority files of titles, authors, persons and places are still to come. Standard mechanisms for dating would also be helpful–when, exactly, was ‘the beginning of the 14th century’?15

Social editing

18From the evolution of the digital society and from the ubiquity of social networks derives a new take on the idea of teamwork in editing (social editing). The idea that one can indeed put a text ‘out there’ and invite people (either other editors or the lay public, depending on the project) to transcribe, collate, correct and collaboratively edit it has caused a bit of a stir in the editorial community, raising questions about authoritativeness, the role of editors and what is needed for an edition to be labelled as ‘scholarly’; the chapter by Siemens et al. in this book will certainly contribute to the debate.

19This sketch of the innovations introduced to textual scholarship by computer technology, although brief, is perhaps enough to allow us to declare that doing things digitally is not simply doing the same old thing in a new medium. In addition, it seems that not only have the methods changed, but this new medium requires a fair bit of theoretical re-thinking and reflection on the significance of what we are doing and its impact on the discipline and on our notions of textuality. The present publication aims to do precisely this: on the one hand to provide an overview of opinions on what is actually changing in scholarly editing from a theoretical point of view, and on the other hand to provide a sample of case studies where such reflections are tested against manuscripts and works from different areas and times.

20The book is thus divided in two main sections: Theories and Practices. This division does not mean that theoretical and broadreaching considerations will only be found on the first section, however: on the contrary, the division is only to manifest how the second group of contributions tends to focus on specific cases and draw from them more general statements, while the chapters in the first group have more methodological aims, but without neglecting the occasional reference to concrete case studies. And it seems only natural that this should be the case: textual scholarship is a ‘field’ discipline, and theories and methods only emerge in practice.

  • 16 Patrick Sahle, Digitale Editionsformen: Zum Umgang mit der Überlieferung unter den Bedingungen des (...)

21The first section opens with Patrick Sahle’s attempt to answer a very basic question: what is a scholarly digital edition (pp. 19–40)? The chapter presents in condensed form the most important points from his monumental Digitale Editionsformen, published in 2013.16 In his contribution he determines that it is the following of a digital paradigm which distinguishes digital editions from digitised editions, where the latter are found to follow a page paradigm instead. In other words, it is the capability of digital editions to ‘transmedialise’, to move from medium to medium, that gives them the possibility of transcending boundaries and establishing a new field of enquiry.

22The second contribution, by Elena Pierazzo, focuses on the fluidity and changeability of texts in general and of digital texts in particular. Texts change over time and across media, and in spite of the early conviction of editors that the uncovering of the lost original (the Urtext) was an achievable goal, the reality of texts demonstrates how this belief cannot be supported: texts are never perfect (in the philosophical sense), but can always be perfected. Electronic texts have an even larger degree of changeability, and digital editing therefore forces editors finally to embrace textual variation as a defining feature of textuality.

23Marina Buzzoni (pp. 59–82) discusses the pros and cons of building a protocol for the creation of digital scholarly editions, claiming how the accountability of editorial work, which has been claimed to be the requirement for defining an edition as scholarly, can be only fulfilled digitally. She then proceeds to analyse the defining characteristics of scholarly editions in the light of the Italian school of textual scholarship, reflecting on how these transpose into the digital medium. Her attention focuses in particular on the most striking feature of a scholarly edition, namely the critical apparatus, and she discusses the way this can be formalised, remediated and made more usable and ultimately scholarly in a digital framework, lamenting the current limitations offered by the Critical Apparatus module of the TEI.

24Joris van Zundert (pp. 83–106) claims that the so-called novelty promised by digital editions is actually held back by the pervasiveness of the most powerful model: the book. Starting from a software development point of view, van Zundert examines the drawbacks of most current digital editions, and investigates ways and possibilities for a methodological breakthrough. In examining the shortcomings of some current editions, he singles out the communication gap that exists between textual scholars and software developers and the tension between the model of the book championed by the former group and the new born-digital knowledge models proposed by the latter. In order to analyse the impact of this tension (or trading zone), he employs sociolinguistic terminology to show how a creole language develops between the two groups, providing mechanisms through which collaboration and new kinds of scholarship can be built. He calls this retention of the physical book as a model for digital editions a regression, with respect to the early theoretical framing of hypertexts as the new digital paradigm. He then calls for a renewed interest in a dialog between textual scholarship and computer science and the elaboration of a more effective inter-linguistic creole.

25Dirk Van Hulle (pp. 107–18) adopts a cognitive approach for his examination of the personal libraries of modernist authors. He claims that genetic digital editing may be the key to creating a bridge and a bi-directional exchange between literary studies and cognitive science, supporting his claim with examples gathered from the Beckett Digital Manuscript Project. The case study shows how Samuel Beckett’s marginalia in his private books bears witness to a creative process that extends over decades, and gives an example of how intertextuality functions as a model of the extended mind. The integration of the digital editions of the manuscripts with the digital editions of the personal library of Beckett, as well as the modelling of the type of marginalia and annotation, are the key ingredients to opening new research perspectives into the editing of modern literary drafts, raising the question of what constitutes the interest of the editor and where we should place our intellectual boundaries now that the digital medium allows us to include entire libraries in digital editions as well as all the surviving witnesses of any given work.

26The chapter by Krista Stinne Greve Rasmussen (pp. 119–34) shifts the focus from editorial work to the users of digital editions or, more precisely, readers and types of readers. In fact, she distinguishes between readers who are primarily interested in accessing a reliable text, users who engage with the interpretation of the text and with the editorial work itself, and co-workers, who contribute to the editions themselves with commentaries, annotations and even editorial intervention. More than defining types of people, these categories tend to define attitudes and roles, which can change in time and moments. In her analysis, she examines differences in perceptions of texts, works and documents in print and in digital form. The open-endedness of digital knowledge sites (as defined by Shillingsburg) represents a threat to the reader (as defined by Rasmussen), who is distracted by the urge to click and fails to appreciate the text as a full aesthetic object. The author claims that digital scholarly editions can (and should) also take the shape of information sites, i.e. places where a reliable text can simply be read, top to bottom, with no or only minimal paratextual and editorial paraphernalia. This separation between text and editorial statement may not always be necessary, though: for the establishment of the essential relationship between text and readers, it may be sufficient for readers to have the impression that an edition, a digital one, is actually a finished product, a challenge big enough, given the intrinsic variability of digital products.

27The section on Practices opens with the contribution by Ray Siemens (pp. 137–60) and his team on their ground-breaking edition of the Devonshire manuscript. The chapter contains an account of the key decisions behind the creation of a digital edition of this important Tudor period manuscript on an open, social platform such as Wikibooks. This ‘social’ edition is social in two ways: on the one hand, it makes reference to the theory of the so-called social text championed by D. F. McKenzie and Jerome McGann; on the other hand it uses a social platform like a Wiki, where knowledge is crowdsourced. But it is also the text that is edited that is social to begin with: it is in fact the product of the multiple hands at the court of Henry VIII, who over the space of a few years composed and assembled the collection as we know it now. It is therefore the nature of the text, in a sense, that pushes toward a different editorial solution, open to the contribution of unforeseen editors, as the manuscript itself was open to unforeseen contributions. This editorial solution of course has repercussions well beyond this specific case and opens a series of questions about the future of scholarly editions and the role of the editor: if editors will no longer be the textual gatekeepers, what will they become? But perhaps this is not the right question to ask, the authors of the contribution preferring to look at the meaning of scholarship in the new web 2.0 context, where the (academic) work can be exposed to scrutiny and improvement of the users (the textual stakeholders), and what is changing in the perceptions of their work and their outcomes.

28Before asking questions about the scholarship of digital editions and the role of digital editors, however, it is perhaps worth asking what digital editions look like, how are they built and what they offer to their users. This is what the chapter by Franzini, Terras and Mahony (pp. 161–82) attempts, namely by investigating the many different shapes of digital editions in the form of a collaborative, online catalogue of editions. The catalogue’s pragmatic approach to the definition of digital edition is then able to provide scholars with interesting insights into what in practice it means to produce a scholarly edition, accounting for disciplinary (classics vs. modern texts) and methodological (TEI or non-TEI) divides.

  • 17 Sabine Seifert, Marcel Illetschko and Peter Stadler, ‘Towards a Model for Encoding Correspondence (...)

29The following two contributions both focus on one of the most keenly felt shortcomings of the TEI schema and modelling, namely the uneven support provided for the encoding of correspondence and of the critical apparatus. The text of Camille Desenclos (pp. 183–200) reports on the progress made on the modelling of early modern correspondence within a project at the École Nationale des Chartes over a large corpus of correspondence of diplomats, in particular French, writing from many European courts over several centuries. The chapter reflects on the specificity of correspondence and on the complication of separating data from metadata in letters, considered as data-rich devices. Desenclos points out a traditionally grey area of digital modelling of documents, as demonstrated by the TEI’s only partial support for the encoding of letters. In recent years, however, a large community has gathered around this issue, with substantial improvements already reaching the community of scholars.17 But while the work within the TEI community has so far produced a better understanding of the kind of human and social interactions that are witnessed by correspondence, Desenclos is more interested in the modelling of the actual document, its various parts and components, and what we can learn from their presence, absence and layout. In her chapter (pp. 201–18), Cynthia Damon focuses her attention on the modelling of the critical apparatus of ancient texts and on the patchy support given to scholars by the TEI in this field. She claims that the critical apparatus needs to be seen as much more than a simple list of variant readings; rather, it is the vault where all the understanding and scholarship of the editors is kept and showcased. At present the TEI only provides a mechanism for recording the actual variants, but not the arguments that explain why they have been rejected, or for documenting the long tradition of editorial arguments which characterises classical texts. It is questionable whether editors, in order to take full advantage of digital methods, should ‘start from scratch’, namely by transcribing all extant witnesses, collating them automatically and then using the results of such a collation to build a stemma and textual apparatus using computational methods. Damon protests that this approach tends to forget that classical texts have been edited for centuries, and that a good edition should also take into account previous scholarship in the form of earlier discussions and conjectures, all aspects that cannot easily be included in a ‘simple’ computational workflow; she concludes by calling for a new approach where the digital edition takes into account the complexity of the editorial work and its tradition.

30The concluding chapter, by Roberto Rosselli Del Turco (pp. 219–38), laments the relatively marginal status still held by digital editions with respect to printed ones, despite more than twenty years of activity in the digital field. In many cases, clearly, print is still the medium of choice for the publication of the fruits of editorial endeavour, and digital editions have not yet been accepted among the scholarly community; they may well be used behind the curtains, but when it comes to citations and referencing it is the printed edition that takes centre stage, thereby depriving the producer of the digital edition of legitimate acknowledgment. A first major obstacle, in Rosselli Del Turco’s eyes, lies on the production side: we do not produce enough digital editions because of a general lack of easy-to-use, out-of-the-box tools and publication infrastructure. Another problem is a result of fragmentary and conflicting user-interfaces, which prevent users from truly enjoying them. The biggest obstacle to the general diffusion and acceptance of digital scholarly editions, however, is the failure of digital editors convincingly to demonstrate the superiority of digital editions with respect to printed ones. Ultimately, then, it is on the metaphorical shoulders of the digital editors to show what is so special about their work and the advantages of producing and using them. Yet the editors cannot do all the work on their own: more far-reaching problems such as the need for the long-term sustainability of digital products require a synergy of effort from all the digital ‘workers’. The future of digital editions, in other words, depends on the capability of editors to collaborate with others and to promote the results of their collaborative efforts.

31This book aims at contributing to the larger debate on the impact of the digital in scholarship, in particular for scholarship in the Humanities. We trust that the quality of the chapters, the combination of topics and approaches, as well as scholars at different stages of their career, will make this collection a point of reference for the digital editorial discourse. What is the future of digital editing? What is in store for editing in the digital age? We are now starting to see glimpses of a future that looks more confusing than ever, with a resurgence of print publications aimed at the general public, and a strong push toward Open Access publication for academic endeavours. This publication positions itself at the crossing of these tendencies, by choosing a hybrid form of publication, digital and print, as well as marrying the Open Access cause without compromises. With our choices we hope to ensure a long life to what we think it is a very valuable and rich contribution to a discipline that is profoundly renewing its heuristics. There is certainly a lot of old wine in our new bottles, but there is new wine too and the combination of the two is a product that is strongly grounded in its roots but certainly looks toward the future.


1 See the outline of the event on the website:

2 See the DiXiT website at

3 Elena Pierazzo, ‘Disciplinary Impact: The Effect of Digital Editing’, Digital Humanities 2015, University of West Sydney, Sydney 29 June–3 July,

4 See Peter A. Stokes, ‘Teaching Manuscripts in the “Digital Age”’, in Kodikologie und Paläographie im Digitalen Zeitalter 2 Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age 2, ed. by Franz Fischer, Christiane Fritze and Georg Vogeler, in collaboration with Bernhard Assmann, Malte Rehbein and Patrick Sahle, Schriften des Instituts für Dokumentologie und Editorik 3 (Norderstedt: BOD, 2010), pp. 229–45; Simon Mahony and Elena Pierazzo, ‘Teaching Skills or Teaching Methodology’, in Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics, ed. by Brett D. Hirsch (Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2013), pp. 215–25,

5 See

6 This quotation, widely attributed to McLuhan, does not actually feature in any of his books; it does however appear in an article about McLuhan by John M. Culkin, SJ: ‘A Schoolman’ s Guide to Marshall McLuhan’, Saturday Review (18 March 1967), pp. 51–53, 71–72, and according to the authors of the McLuhan Galaxy blog (i.e. the McLuhan estate), it is an idea ‘entirely consistent with McLuhan’ s thinking on technology in general’; see

7 Meg Twycross, ‘Virtual Restoration and Manuscript Archaeology’, in The Virtual Representation of the Past, ed. by Mark Greengrass and Lorna Hughes (Farnham: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 23–47 (p. 23).

8 Elena Pierazzo, Digital Scholarly Editing: Theories, Models and Methods (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 97–98.

9 See the three volumes published by the IDE (Institut für Dokumentologie und Editorik) Kodikologie und Paläographie im Digitalen Zeitalter ― Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age published between 2009 and 2015; in particular see Peter A. Stokes, ‘Computer-Aided Palaeography, Present and Future’, in Kodikologie und Paläographie im Digitalen Zeitalter ― Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age, pp. 313–42.

10 See Tal Hassner, Malte Rehbein, Peter A. Stokes and Lior Wolf, ‘Computation and Palaeography: Potentials and Limits: Manifesto from Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 12382’, Dagstuhl Manifestos, 2 (2013), 14–35; Lior Wolf et al., ‘Identifying Join Candidates in the Cairo Genizah’, International Journal of Computer Vision, 94 (2011), 118–35; Lambert Schomaker, ‘Writer Identification and Verification’, in Advances in Biometrics: Sensors, Algorithms and Systems, ed. by N. K. Ratha and Venu Govindaraju (London: Springer, 2008), pp. 247–64.

11 See the project website:

12 See the description of this method from the scholar’s blog:

13 Peter L. Shillingsburg, Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age: Theory and Practice (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996), p. 139.

14 Caroline Macé and Philippe V. Baret, ‘Why Phylogenetic Method Work: The Theory of Evolution and Textual Criticism’, in The Evolution of Texts: Confronting Stemmatological and Genetical Methods, ed. by Caroline Macé et al. (Pisa and Rome: Istituti Editorali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 2006), pp. 89–108; Matthew Spencer, Elizabeth A. Davidson, Adrian C. Barbrook and Christopher J. Howe, ‘Phylogenetics of Artificial Manuscripts’, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 227 (2004), 503–11.

15 See, for instance, the paper presented by Peter A. Stokes at the Digital Humanities conference (Sydney, 29 June–3 July 2015): ‘The Problem of Digital Dating: A Model for Uncertainty in Medieval Documents’, in Digital Humanities 2015 Book of Abstracts (Sydney, 2015),

16 Patrick Sahle, Digitale Editionsformen: Zum Umgang mit der Überlieferung unter den Bedingungen des Medienwandels, 3 vols., Schriften des Instituts für Dokumentologie und Editorik 7–9 (Norderstedt: BOD, 2013).

17 Sabine Seifert, Marcel Illetschko and Peter Stadler, ‘Towards a Model for Encoding Correspondence in the TEI’, Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, 9 (forthcoming); Peter Stadler, ‘Interoperabilität von digitalen Briefeditionen’, in Fontanes Briefe ediert, ed. by Hanna Delf von Wolzogen and Rainer Falk (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014), pp. 278–87.


Senior Lecturer in Old Norse philology at Nordisk Forskningsinstitut, a research institute within the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen. His research interests include manuscript and textual studies, with special focus on popular manuscript culture in late pre-modern Iceland. He is also keenly interested in the description and transcription of primary sources, and has a long-standing involvement in the work of the Text Encoding Initiative, serving on the TEI’s Technical Council from 2001 until 2010. From 2011 to 2015 he was involved in the research networking programme of NeDiMAH (Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities), funded by the European Science Foundation, and acted as chair of its working group on digital scholarly editions

Professor of Italian Studies and Digital Humanities at Université Grenoble-Alpes; previous to that she was Lecturer at the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, where she was the coordinator of the MA in Digital Humanities. Her areas of special interest include Italian Renaissance texts, the editing of early-modern and modern draft manuscripts, digital editing and text encoding. She has been the Chair of the Text Encoding Initiative and involved in the TEI user-community, with particular focus on the transcription of modern and medieval manuscripts. She was co-chair of the working group on digital scholarly editions of NeDiMAH and one of the scientists-in-chief of the Digital Scholarly Editions Initial Training Network (DiXiT)


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