Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 491. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Subject: a correction (50)  From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Subject: nothing replaces the object - or does it? (104)  From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.489: editions, in print or in bytes (62)  From: email@example.com Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.489: editions, in print or in bytes (140)  From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.487: editions, in print or in bytes (24) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-26 05:38:02+00:00 From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Subject: a correction I must apologize to anyone misled by my characterizations, in my answer to Dana Paramskas, of the positions various people have taken in the discussion that has been running on Humanist first under the rubric "the McGann/Renear debate" and in the current thread. I wrote: At least one or two participants in the discussion have argued that any attempt to represent the text of multiple textual witnesses in a single electronic document will necessarily cause painful difficulties in the electronic document, and further that the hierarchical structure of SGML and XML documents makes the difficulties even worse than they would otherwise be. It appears that in my effort to provide as plausible a statement of each argument as I was capable of, I inadvertently attributed to the makers of this argument a position they do not in fact hold. Desmond Schmidt has objected to the paraphrase on the grounds that those whose views I was attempting to describe (which group includes him) have not in fact ever admitted that the satisfactory representation of multiple witnesses is difficult, but have on the contrary only argued that it's difficult in SGML and XML. In the notation he has invented, he says, this task is not painful but "simple and easy to edit". I apologize for mischaracterizing DS's argument. DS's posting touches on a number of other issues, but adds no information useful for those trying to understand his claims in earlier postings. I will spare myself and any remaining readers of this threat the point by point response and the correction of DS's striking misreading of the IBM manual on the GML starter set. DS and I have not, I regret to say, reached a level of clarity and mutual understanding which would allow us to agree on a description of the areas in which we do not agree, We have merely reached a point at which I doubt that further discussion of DS’s views on the origins of SGML is likely to be useful, enlightening, or entertaining. ******************************************** C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Black Mesa Technologies LLC email@example.com http://www.blackmesatech.com ******************************************** -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-26 05:36:27+00:00 From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Subject: nothing replaces the object - or does it? In Humanist 32.489, Willard McCarty writes: My particular concern was with human and artificial agencies in the act of note-making and what I called knowing-by-doing -- not just Ryle's 'knowing how' but the knowing in enacting how. The psychology of art would seem a place to go. I would appreciate not just specific pointers into Rudolf Arnheim's work but also any other suggestions that you might have. I wonder if I could induce you to expound a bit on how the topics you mention connect with the topic of scholarly editions. Is it the task of a scholarly edition to capture and represent the performative knowledge of which you speak? Or is it the task of an edition to shape itself in ways that support the development and profession of such performative knowledge in the reader? In either case, it would be good to have some clearer idea of what you are talking about. I would be so bold as to say that nothing replaces the face-to-parchment (skin-to-skin) work with manuscripts, even though getting to see these rare items is expensive and time-consuming. I agree, but WMcC may not find my reasoning wholly satisfactory. My paleography instructors made a point of stressing that no edition of any manuscript can legitimately be made without autopsy of the manuscript. They came as close as statute would allow to making us swear in blood that we would never publish a transcript made only from a microfilm. I have never had a reason to think they were wrong. So, yes, nothing can replace autopsy. But it would be a very ill wind that blew nobody any good. Nothing replaces face-to-parchment work, but for manuscripts we find hard to read, it is equally true that nothing replaces work with image manipulation software. With a scanned image, we can perform transformations which librarians and archivists would frown on us attempting on the original manuscript. If a student came to me with a transcription of a difficult manuscript full of passages marked uncertain or illegible, and explained that they had not used existing scans of the manuscript to attempt to render those passages legible, I do not think I would be able to advise that they publish an edition based on their transcription in its current state. And in the same vein, nothing replaces work with a word frequency list. The list could be extended a long time, perhaps indefinitely. That is, I agree with what you say, but I do not think that physical contact with a manuscript is distinguished thereby from work with a digital surrogate. Nothing replaces a useful tool. Similarly, I'd say that nothing replaces the physical manipulation of notes. Perhaps a Minority Report device could equal index cards on a table or floor, but who could afford that? On the same principle as above, I think this risks being a truism -- no thing replaces any other -- but I think you wish to suggest that physical manipulation of notes is better than the alternatives. I think I part company from you here. In my experience scholars have an absolutely bewildering variety of styles in the way they construct and work with their notes, and it is by no means the case that physical manipulation of notes plays an important role for everyone. If you believe that no one can ever work as effectively with a SQL database as with a shoebox full of 4x6 slips (or, for the unenlightened, of 3x5 cards — or [God forbid] an erratic mixture of cards and slips, 3x5 and 4x6), then I think you are falling victim to a failure of imagination about the inner lives of others who work with notes. If a distinction between any X and Y is perceptible, it is almost certain that some people will prefer X and others Y. If you prefer playing solitare with your notes in order to organize them, someone will prefer tossing them into the air above a staircase and challenging themselves to write a compelling discourse starting with the topics mentioned on the lowest stair and ending with those on the highest. By a wide margin the conference talk on which I got the most compliments in my life so far was one in which my notes were lost entirely, my hard disk died, and I wrote the slides the night before the talk with the help of a soft-hearted graduate student, using software I had never seen before under an operating system set up for a metropolitan French keyboard on a machine with the keys labeled for a Canadian French layout (so every other slide or so I had to consult the student about which key to press to obtain a particular character). The experience suggests to me that in my case perhaps the right thing to do would be to replace physical manipulation of notes with complete physical inaccessibility of notes. (You are not hearing the sound of a cane thumping the floor! :-) Well, no, but I could turn up my hearing aid, if that would help. ******************************************** C. M. Sperberg-McQueen Black Mesa Technologies LLC firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.blackmesatech.com ******************************************** -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-26 00:45:09+00:00 From: Dr. Herbert Wender Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.489: editions, in print or in bytes Just two cents from Wikipedia: "Broadly, any metalanguage is language or symbols used when language itself is being discussed or examined. In logic and linguistics, a metalanguage is a language used to make statements about statements in another language (the object language)." I would mean that in most caseswe can agree in stating the hierarchy S-GML, i.e. Standard for (a certain typpe of) generic markup language*s* XML in a TEI conformant specification NL, i.e. natural language 'chatacter data' Insofar the 'content objects' underlying a given markup are NL expressions, the markup as usage of the specified metalangugageÂ allows to exxpress certain assertions on (parts of) the underlying textual object.(s) [BTW: One shouldn't wonder about ambibuous usage of the acronym SGNL with regards to the imprecise name (ending in the singular 'language') and the parallel usage as filetype (f.e. OTA's file "1824.sgml" bearing the TEXT-part to "1824.xml"..] Coming back from some offline days I was surprised by the new name and a certain turn in the thread begun under the names McGann and Renear. It will probably take some times to order my thoughts on the new questions. But with respect to the older ones I wish to express quite now my disappointment regarding the new massterpiece of clarification what may be meant by the term 'text', and this in a manner that makes rhetorically disappear some problems already stated and yet not ansswered, f.e. - what kind of 'content object' is Goethe's mdash in the mentioned ROSENKNOSPEN example? - would a 'floating' speaker name break a TEI rule or not? - what hierarchy governs the relationship Speaker-Speech (understood as spoken lines of text)? - why the CONCUR option foreseen by SGML never (?) was implemented? And after all these details I would like to come back to the general question: Can we really expect that using a formalized language suited to model language competence and (in the case of SGML conformancy) invented to regularize highly formalized communications in governmental, technical and scientific (narrower sense) contexts will ever be fitted to sufficiently describe language performances as in the writing of literary authors? My point of view is decidedly not the one which has shown Desmond Schmidt in the new turn of the debate on analog / digital divide. The label "editions, in print or in bytes" fails to reach the point in which I'm interested in - and it neglectss definitely nowadays pubishing workflow: Where is a newly printed edition which wasn't prior in bytes? Why, the hell, no one is speaking here about DTP? (i.e. Desk Top Publishing) Why no mention to PDFs? (Page Description Formats) Could anyone explain why f.e. the Stroemfeld facsimile edition of Kafka's "Der Process" or the edition of HÃ¶lderlin's Works by the same publisher aren't valuable as scholarly editions? Otherwise asked: What can legitimize the great funding efforts in SGML/XML/TEI conformant encoding projects as "Heinrich Heine Portal" or "Faustedition"? Where ist the "stupid softwate" to process such "smart data" (Sperberg-McQueen) ? With kindly regards (and the usual apologies) Herbert -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2019-02-25 18:22:00+00:00 From: email@example.com Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.489: editions, in print or in bytes Whereas most of us think in sentences, Michael appears (to me anyway) to think in full, coherent paragraphs. I don't think there is any attempt on his part to bludgeon you into silence. Michael, > > I presume by these two long postings your intention is to swat the > annoying fly that I have become. I'm sorry to disappoint you. > > > At least one > > or two participants in the discussion have argued that any attempt to > > represent the text of multiple textual witnesses in a single > > electronic document will necessarily cause painful difficulties in the > > electronic document, and further that the hierarchical structure of > > SGML and XML documents makes the difficulties even worse than they > > would otherwise be. > > This is precisely what my model of text addresses and delivers on: Any > number of versions in one electronic document, each of which is simple > and easy to edit. If you agree here with this summary the SGML/XML > model fails us in this essential task. > Since it is trivially possible to have more than one document to represent a 'version' (I assume by this you mean a witness, or an editing stage, or a previous edition, depending on the circumstances), and moreover since doing so means you can put them in a version control system (different sort of version), I still fail to see how this is a win. > > The assumption that "elements and attributes" constitute "metadata" is > > also not one I think can be taken for granted. The idea that "markup" > > is always and only "metadata" is not hard to find, and is often useful > > when teaching beginners the rudiments of markup, but it's hard to take > > seriously as a philosophical statement and -- like the concept of > > "metadata" itself -- does not (in my limited experience) withstand > > sustained scrutiny. > > I used the term metadata because I just wanted a general term to hang > elements and attributes off. Both are "data about data" - the > definition in the dictionary - which is good enough for me. In > SGML/XML they both describe the text nodes, the content, in layman's > terms the stuff not in angle-brackets. They still do that even when we > philosophise about whether metadata are also data. > This is not completely correct. Markup can also represent (e.g.) no text at all ( ), or unrepresentable text ( ), or structural divisions (
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