Electronic Textual Editing: Guiding Questions for Vettors of Print and Electronic Editions [ Committee on Scholarly Editions, Modern Language Association ]

Title vetted
Edited by
Date vetted
Vettor and Vettor's SS no.

For each question listed below, the vettor should enter Yes, No, or Not applicable as appropriate. Indication of whether additional comment on this point is made in the attached report is also required.

I. Basic Materials, Procedures, and Conditions

II. Textual Essay

III Apparatus and extra-textual materials

IV: Matters of Production

V. Electronic Editions

Glossary of Terms

A collective term invented by W. W. Greg and now widely used to mean the punctuation, spelling, word-division, paragraphing, and indications of emphasis in a given text--things ‘affecting mainly its formal presentation,’ as he put it (Greg, 21). 1 Greg distinguished between the accidentals of a text and its words, or substantives (q.v.) Accidentals and substantives are conceptually important for Greg's rationale of copy-text, which assumes that authors are more proprietary about their words than about their accidentals, while typesetters and other agents of textual transmission (copyists, typists, proofreaders, copy-editors) are the reverse. For this reason, at least for an edition aimed at preserving the author's accidentals as well as his substantives, the rationale for choosing a copy-text is first and foremost that, of the available texts, it is the most faithful to the author's accidentals and contains the fewest changes to them by other hands. It is therefore often the first or earliest text in a line of descent, but any author who carefully revised his accidentals (say in the second edition) might oblige an editor to choose that text rather than an earlier one.
Authority is an attribute of any text, or any variant between texts, indicating that it embodies the author's active intention to make or choose a particular arrangement of words and marks of punctuation. Some texts or variants may be said to have "no authority" because they were merely copied (accurately or otherwise) from an earlier text, but without the author's intervention. On the other hand, texts that were set from copy revised by the author are said to contain "new authority," meaning that some of the words and punctuation in them arose from authorial revision of her own text. Likewise, the authority of a holograph manuscript is usually greater than any typesetting of it, but the manuscript's authority at any given point may be superseded by the typesetting if the author made changes on proof or any other intervening document.
base text
The text chosen by an editor to compare with other texts of the same work in order to record textual variation between them. Its selection can be to some extent arbitrary, or because it is (among the available texts) simply the most complete. Unlike a copy-text (q.v.), it is not assigned any presumptive authority and may not even be used to construct a critical text, serving instead only as an anchor or base to record textual variants.
Comparison. A collation is either the record of the substantive and accidental differences between two or more texts, or the act of comparing two or more texts for the purpose of documenting their differences.
The specific arrangement of words and punctuation which an editor designates as the basis for his edited text, and from which he departs only where he deems emendation is necessary. Under Greg's rationale the copy-text also has a presumptive authority in its accidentals (that is, the editor will default to them wherever variant accidentals are "indifferent"-meaning not persuasively authorial or non-authorial). But copy-text may also designate texts for which no later variants are possible or anticipated. It is now commonplace to designate a manuscript letter that was actually sent as a copy-text for a personal letter. In such cases, emendations of the copy-text would normally not of the author's subsequent revisions, but solely of elements in the original manuscript that the editor could not, or elected not to, represent in the transcription. Contrary to certain common misconceptions, copy-text does not mean the copy an editor or author sends to the printer, and it need not represent the "author's final intention." Indeed it is more likely to be his first draft than his final printed revision of a text. Its selection is based on the editor's judgment that the authority of its accidentals is on the whole superior to other possible texts he could choose for copy-text.
digital object repository
A means of storing, retrieving, and administering complex collections of digital objects.If the repository is to meet the needs of scholarly editions, it should have a secure institutional basis (like a university research library) and it should have a commitment to long-term preservation, migration, and access. For an example, see http://www.fedora.info
Document Type Definition-the set of rules that specifies how the SGML or XML grammar will be applied in a particular document instance.
Editorial changes in the copy-text or base text. These changes may be made to correct errors, to resolve ambiguous readings, or to incorporate an author's later revisions as found in printed editions or other sources, such as lists of errata, assuming for the moment that the editorial goal is to recover the author's textual intentions. Different editorial goals might well call for emendations of some other kind, but they would all still be editorial changes to the copy-text or base text and would under normal circumstances be reported as part of the editor's accounting of what she had done with the available evidence.
Hyphens in a word which fall at the end of a line in a manuscript, or a typesetting, may sometimes be ambiguous. They may be either (a) signs of syllabic division used to split a word in two for easier justification of a line of type (or to fit it on the end of one and beginning of the next manuscript line), or (b) signs that a compound word is to be spelled with hyphens ("water-wheel" or "Jack-o-lantern" if broken after a hyphen at the end of a line might be ambiguous, i.e., intended to be spelled with or without the hyphens). For any source text these ambiguous hyphens require judgment as to how the word was intended to be spelled, and such ambiguities would ordinarily be resolved in the way other ambiguous readings in a copy-text are resolved-by editorial choice, recorded as an emendation (change) in the copy-text. In the text as finally edited and printed, if hyphenation of certain words falls at the end of a line and is therefore ambiguous, the editor should likewise resolve this ambiguity for the reader.
explanatory notes
Notes devoted to explaining what something means or why it is present, rather than textual notes, which are devoted to explaining why the text at a certain point reads in the way it does, and not in some other way.
historical collation
A record of variants for a given text over some defined number of editions (e.g., from the 1st through the 7th edition) or some period of time (e.g.,from different impressions of the same edition made between 1884 and 1891). The purpose of historical collations is to put before the reader as complete a record as possible of all variants between a group of texts, from which the editor has had to choose. In the past, but only to save space, historical collations have tended to omit variant accidentals and confine themselves to a record of variant substantives.
International Organization for Standardization, a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 140 countries, one from each country.ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. See http://www.iso.org/
JPG (or JPEG, for Joint Photographic Experts Group) is an open, non-proprietary ISO standard (official name ITU-T T.81 | ISO/IEC 10918-1) forthe storage of raster images. For more information, see http://www.jpeg.org/
machine collation
Collation by means of a Hinman Collator or other mechanical or optical device, allowing very slight differences between states of the same typesetting to be located visually, without the need for a traditional, point by point, comparison of one text against the other. Machine collation is only possible between different states of the same typesetting.
Changing the spelling or punctuation of a text to bring these into conformity with modern standards, as distinct from the standards at the time of first composition or publication.
METS stands for the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, a standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library, expressed using the XML schema language of the World Wide Web Consortium.The standard is maintained in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress, and is being developed as an initiative of the Digital Library Federation.For more information, see http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/
MPEG stands for Moving Picture Experts Group, and is the nickname given to a family of International Standards used for coding audio-visual information in a digital compressed format. The MPEG family of standards includes MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, formally known as ISO/IEC-11172, ISO/IEC-13818 and ISO/IEC-14496. Established in 1988, the MPEG working group (formally known as ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11) is part of JTC1, the Joint ISO/IEC Technical Committee on Information Technology. For more information see http://www.mpeg.org/
PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is an extensible file format for the lossless, portable, well-compressed storage of raster images.The PNG specification is on a standards track under the purview of ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 24 and is expected to be released eventually as ISO/IEC International Standard 15948. See http://www.libpng.org/
XML Schemas provide a means for defining the structure, content and semantics of XML documents.For more information, see http://www.w3.org/XML/Schema
Standard Generalized Markup Language, a grammar for text encoding,defined in International Organization for Standardization, ISO 8879. For more information, see http://xml.coverpages.org/sgml.html
silent emendations
Editorial changes to the copy-text which are not recorded, item by item, as they occur, but are only described somewhere in the textual essay as a general category of change, and are thus made "silently," without explicit notice of each and every change.
A schematic diagram representing the genealogical relationship of known texts (includinglost exemplars) of a given work, showing which text or texts any given later text was copied from, usually with the overall purpose of reconstructing an early, lost exemplar by choosing readings from later extant texts, based in part on their relative distance from the lost source. Stemma may also be used simply to show graphically how any given text was copied or reprinted over time, even if the goal is not to recover an early, lost exemplar.
W. W. Greg's collective term for the words of a given text —"the significant … readings of the text, those namely that affect the author's meaning or the essence of his expression,"as distinct from its accidentals (Greg, 21).* Under Greg's rationale for copy-text, the authority for substantives could be separate and distinct from the authority for the accidentals, thus permitting an editor to adopt changes in wording from later texts, even though she maintained the accidentals of an earlier one virtually unchanged.
tag library
A document that lists all of the tags, or elements, available in a DTD, with a brief description of the intended use of each, a list of its attributes, and brief statements identifying elements within which this element can occur, and which elements it can contain.See http://www.loc.gov/ead/tglib/index.html for an example.
textual notes
Notes devoted specifically to discussing cruxes or points of difficulty in establishing how the text should read at any given point. Compare "explanatory notes."
user interface
In an electronic edition, the on-screen presentation of content, including navigational methods, menus of options, and any other feature of the edition that invites user interaction or responds to it.
Textual differences between two or more texts. These would include differences in wording, or in spelling, word-division, paragraphing, emphasis, and other minor but still meaning-bearing elements, such as some kinds of indention and spacing.
eXtensible Markup Language, a simplified subset of SGML (q.v.), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.For a gentle introduction to XML, see http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/SG.html
XSL is a language for expressing style sheets. An XSL stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents (for example, TEI documents) by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses the specified formatting vocabulary (for example, HTML). For more information, see http://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/
Greg, W. W. "The Rationale of Copy-Text." Studies in Bibliography 3 (1950-51): 19-36.

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