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Humanist Archives: March 20, 2019, 6:17 a.m. Humanist 32.562 - illusions of progress

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 562.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2019-03-19 16:42:22+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
        Subject: Fwd: Re: [Humanist] 32.553: illusions of progress

Elisa and Raff,

thanks for the clarifications, esp. with regards to the different institutions
and their different goals. And I regret that I wasn't able to express clearly
enough my interest in the case which derives its origin from the discussion of
prioritizing one hierarchy in TEI/XML encoding workflow. I was always skeptical
about the use of forward encoding techniques to encode backward structures of
historical documents, and this skepsis dates from the early 1990's.

While Martin Mueller was outing his belief on order I would mean that most
relevant in the research of early modern printing (and in later times too!) was
the bibliographic documentation of disturbances (quires from another press run,
press stop variants, ...). Yes, always when such a disturbance is documented the
offended order is presupposed; but if to choose I think it's better to make
directly visible the deviances leaving implicit what all readers will be able to
identify as ordinary structure. (I think this is Desmond's approach too.) In
the context of machine-readability this would mean to minimize the encoding in
all cases of rule-conformant printing and to indicate otherwise locations where
exception rules are applying.

(BTW: The very beginning of hard-core bibliographic "Goethe-Philologie" was a
study by Michael Bernays in the mid-19th century identifying an eye-skip in
typesetting the text of "Werther" for the third eition of a rubber's sample
print in the end of the 1770s. Some years ago Peter Shillingsburg was in clinch
with German editors discussing the editorial consequences in such situations.)

Skeptical with regards to historical printing in earlier TEI times, I'm now a
decisive 'disbeliever' regarding the new trend of encoding manuscripts prioritizing
a supposed order of zones in the surface. Who is ready to take punctuation as a
kind to mark-up an underlying alphabetic text should be also willing to interpret
Percy Shelley's interventions as 'mark-up' in a separate layer above the prior
written text. And in such cases the details of the transformation process will
be only relevant in double-page side-by-side presentation of facts and transcript
to simplify the reading for unskilled readers (what was done by Ch. Robinson
quite satisfyingly). In contouring the revision process behind the pen strokes
(differentiating supposed intentions as stylistic, semantic etc.) it would be,
IMHO, better to take not account of the surface writing operations which enact
the intended changes but treat them as black boxes between initial state and
final state.

Two final(?) remarks about the S-GA encoding which will intentionally expose
PBS's additions neglecting the deletions:
1. The properly encoding of the acting instance in "mod" tags resp. in free-
standing "del"s would not prevent the concentration on additions in further
2. As the rendering in the existant printed transcription byCh.  Robinson shows
quite properly the amount of PBS's additions, the representation of this
italicizations in an electronic version - in which format ever - would be
sufficient to reach the goal.

For other remaining questions I will attend the finished Variorum edition.

Kindly regards, Herbert

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