Electronic Edition of a Text (Part 2)


In Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age (3rd edition), Shillingsburg uses the term "scholarly edition" to refer to editions that "preserve or rescue a work of artistic, social, intellectual, or historical importance as artifact" (3). Electronic scholarly editions are concerned with creating and preserving searchable texts; however, in addition to providing these texts, "thus enhancing our sense and grasp of the intratextuality of a work, the electronic medium provides an environment in which the relations between multiple versions of a text and between a text and its verbal, intellectual, and visual parallels can also become more immediate" (163). One vision of the electronic edition is to explore the "multiplicity of textual forms," while another vision is of "one webbed or networked with cross-references connecting variant texts, explanatory notes, contextual materials, and parallel texts" (165). In short, it is a "tool for students of a work, returning to it with the intention of exploring its history, its connective tissues, its roots and ramifications" (165).

For this assignment, you will propose your own electronic scholarly edition of a text, an edition that students like you could use to study the text. For examples of hypertext and electronic editions, refer to the Cather Archive, the Blake Archive, the Rossetti Archive, or the Emory Women Writers Project. Your edition, though, should focus on a text that is not already a part of one of these archives (or other archive) - in fact, try to find less familiar authors and texts. Once you have chosen a text, think about the following questions: what is the nature of the material? what do people need to know? what will your edition do that can't be done in print? how will you address user issues such as accessibility, viewing options, audience expertise levels? how will your site maintain integrity of the original text? how will you maintain the edition and keep it secure?

Once you have answered these questions, create a facsimile of this electronic edition (as a website, Storify, PowerPoint, Sliderocket, etc) and link it to your personal blog. You will also draft an Editor's Note explaining your choices. What will it look like? How will it be visually arranged? Will you use color-coding to help users spot things in the text? What options or choices will you allow? What relevant materials will you include, such as other primary sources, bibliographic or cultural information, sounds, images, etc? What kind of search features and annotation features should it have?

You may work on this project as a group or an individual. If you decide to work as a group, each individual will be assigned a grade based on oral and written participation, and the group will receive a grade based on the overall quality of the project. It is the responsibility of each student to document his or her contribution to the group effort.

I’d like you to try to present your analysis in one of the following formats: 1) a web page linked to your blog so that you can practice putting your standards to work on your own materials (If you haven’t used ExpressionWeb before, here's a manual to help you use the program); 2) a Storify presentation, or 3) an explanation of your site using a screen-capture program such as Jing or CamStudio.





Additional Resources:

MLA Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions

McGann, Jerome. Radiant Textuality: Literature After the World Wide Web. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2001.

Shillingsburg, Peter L. From Guttenburg to Google: Electronic Representations of Literary Texts. New York: Cambridge U P, 2006. (especially Chapters Four and Six)

Shillingsburg, Peter L. Scholarly Editing in the Computer Age: Theory and Practice. 3rd ed. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1996. (Chapter 14 deals with Electronic Editions)

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