Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 446. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: Dr. Herbert Wender
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.442: the McGann-Renear debate: a few propositions (22)  From: Michael Falk Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.444: the McGann-Renear debate (79) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-12 00:11:22+00:00 From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.442: the McGann-Renear debate: a few propositions Peter, In the 2018 talk you've said: "A text is an instance of an act of communication inscribed in a document." I would say: When in an act of communication a document is used, the verbal amount of the inscriptions can be seen as 'text of the document'. If the document bears one or more works we have to differentiate between the one or more 'text(s) of the work(s)' and the paratext(s) both part of the document-text. How linear linguistic texts are scattered through the document(s) is secondary in textual scholarship, primary is the intended (by the sender) or captured (by the receiver) unit of meaning to be hypothetically (re)constructed in all cases in which we can speak of a (linguistically complete) 'text*. Cases of incomplete texts will be handled with exception rules. Greetings, Herbert -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-11 09:42:04+00:00 From: Michael Falk Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.444: the McGann-Renear debate (In the following angle-brackets have been replaced by square ones to circumvent a current problem with the processing software --WM) This has been a very interesting thread. The idea of 'complete text' is indeed a useful conceptâit forces us to think in advance of all the things we want to model in a digital edition. May I just reiterate the point Bill Pascoe made a few emails ago. It is not the case that: "3. Each aspect may be represented as a OHCO: an ordered hierarchy of content objects, a tree." This is the central weakness of XML as a universal markup language. It insists on an impossibly strict nesting of elements. The essence of scholarly editing is the collation of different textual variants. Revisions frequently create overlapping elements that XML struggles to encode. For instance, the first version of a poem may read: [lg] [l]From the crude records which mysterious Time[/l] [l]Hath printed on the mountains and the shores[/l] ... [/lg] In a later revision, the poet may change the second line: [lg] [l]From the crude records which mysterious Time[/l] [l]Hath *graven* on the *giant, crag-boned *mountains,[/l] [l]And* wild sea *shores ... [/l] ... [/lg] The revision starts within line 1, and ends partway through line 2. This presents a dilemma. Either a single [rdg] or [choice] element is wrapped around the the two lines, meaning that 'hath', 'on the' and 'mountains' are falsely recorded as revisions, or the single act of revision is recorded as two seperate elements nested inside the two [l] elements. Then a later revision: [lg] [l]From the crude records which mysterious Time[/l] [l]Hath graven on the crag-boned *hills*, *and strewn*[/l] [l]*In crumbled fragments, and embedded deep*,[/l] [l]*On* wild sea shores, ...[/l] ... [/lg] Now the word 'shores' has been moved yet again to another element, multiplying the dilemma of the previous version. Moreover, we now have the sequence 'the mountains' -] 'the giant, crag-boned mountains' -] 'the crag-boned hills'. The last revision spans an unchanged word that was introduced in the second revision. To represent the flow complex clow of textual revision, each atom of each revision would need to be separately recorded and linked through a complex series of letter codes to indicate their spatial position in each line group, and their temporal position in the fluttering history of textual insertion and deletion. In my own experience of textual edition in TEI - which I admit isn't\n\n enormous - dealing with these sorts of issues requires endless workarounds and incredible labour. And the result is not a 'true' representation of the complete text, because in reality the elements of the text are not nested. There is an elegant solution: store the different witnesses in different files, and perform the string alignment algorithmically. Rather than trying to encode the 'complete text' in a single hierarchical file, versions can be collated pairwise as required. Pairwise collation can be updated manually if the algorithm is found to be inadequate. This also has the heartening result that the edition will not be ruined by the discovery of a new witness of the text, which would shatter any carefully constructed system of element ids. Michael Falk, Western Sydney University _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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