Gioele Barabucci, Franz Fischer, The formalization of textual criticism: bridging the gap between automated collation and edited critical texts

"Introduction" paragraph of the paper: Not much of the editorial process of creating digital scholarly editions is automated or assisted by computer tools. Even those parts of the process that are automated do not really form a cohesive unit. For example, the tools and the data formats used to extract text via OCR from manuscripts are different and mostly incompatible with the tools and data formats used to collate the extracted texts. Because of these incompatibilities or missing computer tools, the editorial workflow is highly fragmented, hard to manage in small-scale editions and to extend to big-scale projects.This paper discusses several challenges we have been facing in various collaborative editorial projects run at our research center, including large-scale projects, such as Capitularia or Novum Testamentum Graece. These editions deal with hundreds texts transmitted in even more manuscript witnesses. Conceived as long-term project, they involve dozens of editors and collaborators. It is easy to imagine that maintaining consistent editorial practices throughout the years and changes in the composition of the editing team is not an easy effort. Simple tasks like collating a particular passage or finding occurrences of a certain editing pattern in the transmission of the texts can be daunting. There are computer tools that could help with some of these tasks. However, they cover only a few of the editorial steps, do not always interact with the editors and are hard to combine into a coherent workflow. In order to solve these problems, we suggest the adoption of a shared formalization describing the editorial process. The use of this shared formalization will allow the whole editorial process to be semi-automated, with positive repercussions on the workload of the editors and on the quality and verifiability of the edition itself.

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