14.0077 thought-experiment on commentaries

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 28 2000 - 17:08:20 CUT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 77.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 18:00:51 +0100
             From: Wilhelm Ott <zrlot01@zdv.uni-tuebingen.de>
             Subject: thoughts from Tuebingen on commentaries

    [The following is most of a note sent to me by Prof Dr Wilhelm Ott in
    response to my direct request, suggested by John Bradley (and quoted
    below), that he think about what an electronic commentary might do. Those
    of you who know the fine work he and his group have done applying his own
    TuSTEP software to the production of scholarly editions and commentaries in
    Tuebingen will not wonder at the request. He has given his blessing to my
    publishing his note here. --WM]

    I will not do this, since for many years I have not been active in writing
    or using commentaries. I remember however what I had missed earlier, even
    and especially in texts which were as richly commented as the Bible (you
    may remember, my PhD dissertation was on the role of prayer in the view of
    the authors of the Synoptic Gospels): I missed the direct access to the
    sources, quoted by the commentaries as a support to a certain
    interpretation or as a background for facts alluded to, or as evidence for
    unusal grammatical usage of certain words or constructions. The situation
    was not as bad as it may have been in other environments, since I did my
    work in a place which was unusually well equipped with the respective
    literature: the University of Tbingen has two Faculties of Theology
    (catholic and protestant), and the Tbingen University Library has the
    "Sondersammelgebiet Theologie" ("Sondersammelgebiet" means that a library
    has extra funds from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in order to
    collect as completely as possible the literature in the respective
    field); t h e german university library for theology is in Tbingen.
    Nevertheless, it was sometimes necessary to wait for books from other
    libraries, or for the return of books lent by others... The electronic
    commentary could include in addition to the references, the material itself
    (not only texts, but also pictures...).

    As an example (which I have only seen in a demonstration; I have not yet
    had a closer look at it) for a product which meets some of these desires, I
    want to direct your attention to the "hybrid" edition of Der junge Goethe
    in seiner Zeit. Texte und Kommentare. Hg. v. Karl Eibl, Fotis Jannidis u.
    Marianne Willems. Frankfurt: Insel Verlag 1998 It consists of two printed
    volumes and a CD-ROM which contains materials from the historical context
    of the works of the youg Goethe, including important texts, the catalogue
    of his father's library, letters, etc., about 7 times the volume of the
    printed book, with about 13.000 links between them. The access software is
    FolioViews. In addition, the material is contained also in a version
    encoded in TEI-Lite. - You might be interested to find out more about this
    edition by consulting http://www.jgoethe.uni-muenchen.de, where you find,
    among other information, a powerpoint demo of the CD-ROM and some reviews
    of this edition.

    More modest examples (aimed at an other readership, namely high school
    students ("Gymnasium")), are the volumes of the "Basisbibliothek", also
    published by Suhrkamp Verlag (Insel, Suhrkamp and Deutscher Klassiker
    Verlag are the same persons), each offering a "basis text" (e.g., Goethe:
    Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, or Brecht: Leben des Galilei), published
    from the TUSTEP-files used also for producing the editons by the Deutscher
    Klassiker Verlag. The same text is contained on a CD-ROM available for each
    of these volumes, which in addition contain the commentary and additional
    materials. Up to now, 18 volumes (and CD-ROMs) have been published. They
    are available also as Rocket eBook editions (cf. http://www.rocket-ebook.de).


    I mentioned the latter examples also as an answer to your remark that
    TUSTEP "has implemented a vision based on actual practice, although mostly
    (? entirely) for the print medium".

    Let me correct this possible misunderstanding: in the center of TUSTEP,
    there have always been the tools for analyzing and manipulating textual
    data (including collation of different versions, indexing, data base
    manipulations etc) for scholarly work in the fields where texts are the
    object of research. For presenting the results, output facilities (also for
    more difficult typesetting, like for critical editions) are not more (and
    not less) than a necessary part of this toolbox. That TUSTEP is by many
    people seen as a tool for producing printed scholarly editions may
    originate from a time when no other software could do this job (TUSTEP
    handles the layout necessary for an edition with critical apparatuses
    automatically since 1974). Others see TUSTEP only as a powerful typesetting

    TUSTEP supports also electronic media. As a proof you may consult the OPAC
    of our own library at http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/cgi-bin/zdvlit
    (accessible also via the homepage of the ZDV under "Bibliothek / OPAC").
    Here, TUSTEP is used not only to prepare the data base, but also as the
    search enginge. The data base is a TUSTEP file which is searched with the
    flexible TUSTEP means (as you may imagine from the buttons for selecting
    the grade of exactness of the search; you might try to select
    "normalisierte Suche" and to look for an author like "Meier" (which also
    gives you "Mayer" and other orthographic forms) or "Schmid" (which also
    returns names like "Schmied", "Schmidt", "Schmitt" or "Smith"); the results
    are on the fly converted into HTML for presentation. Also the search engine
    serving the FAQ data base on the ZDV homepage is TUSTEP; here, both index
    and full text search is possible (the OPAC relies on full text search only;
    it is small enough, about 60.000 titles only).

    A commercial (and presently free) electronic publication using TUSTEP as a
    search engine is the Roche-Lexikon Medizin, a medical lexicon available in
    print, on CD-ROM and online (http://www.roche-lexikon.de) with more than
    100.000 entries. The data base and the necessary links and indexes have
    also been prepared with TUSTEP, based on files converted from the book- and
    the CD-ROM-publication.

    Please excuse me for the lengh of this mail - but your remarks on TUSTEP
    did seduce me to add some recent information on this tool.

    Looking forward to see you in Glasgow
    Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Ott phone: +49-7071-2970210
    Universitaet Tuebingen fax: +49-7071-295912
    Zentrum fuer Datenverarbeitung e-mail: ott@zdv.uni-tuebingen.de
    Waechterstrasse 76 http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/zdv/
    D-72074 Tuebingen

    On Thu, 22 Jun 2000, Willard McCarty wrote:

    > Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 10:01:40 +0100
    > From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
    > To: Wilhelm Ott <zrlot01@zdv.uni-tuebingen.de>
    > Cc: John Bradley <John.Bradley@kcl.ac.uk>
    > >
    > Dear Wilhelm,
    > Perhaps by now you've seen my attempt to provoke discussion on the question
    > of what the scholarly commentary should do in the electronic media we now
    > have at our disposal. John Bradley pointed out to me this morning that of
    > all the people we know you're probably the most experienced, as TuSTEP has
    > for a long time implemented a vision based on actual practice, although
    > mostly (? entirely) for the print medium. I'm wondering if you might be
    > persuaded to undertake my thought-experiment and reply to Humanist. I have
    > set the terms of the experiment to focus on the specifically electronic
    > commentary, rather than electronic means to produce the printed one, though
    > it would be quite germane to my purpose, and all of ours, were you to argue
    > that the new media aren't better for the job, or that they pull us in new
    > directions toward a new entity, and that the genre shaped by print should
    > remain more or less as is.
    > Yours,
    > W
    > -----
    > Dr Willard McCarty / Centre for Computing in the Humanities /
    > King's College London / Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
    > voice: +44 (0)20 7848-2784 / fax: +44 (0)20 7848-2980 /
    > ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/
    > maui gratias agere

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