Prep for Launch! A Little Light Reading on Electronic Textual Editing

This blog is especially designed for our project team and any interested followers as we work together to build a digital archive of the literary texts and letters of Mary Russell Mitford. Let’s use this blog as a space to share resources and post updates, issues, and reflections on the project.

I’d like to start us off with a little light reading in preparation for our early June workshop meetings, to help familiarize all of you with the specific advantages and challenges of digital editing. One of the very best resources on theory and practice is a book titled Electronic Textual Editing, ed. Lou Burnard, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, and John Unsworth (MLA, 2006). It’s a little dated but in a good way, in that it will give you a sense of time-depth on the coding work we’ll be doing. The theoretical implications stand, and the guidelines published here are MLA’s standards for scholarly editing of electronic editions. The text of this book was actually produced in TEI XML (the same coding we’ll be using), and its pre-print version is conveniently posted on the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) site.

The following chapters will be especially good to read as orientation, before we meet on June 3. Most of these are short, but offer lots of food for thought…(Some sections here and in the rest of the book may make more sense after we’ve met and started some coding work together.)

G. Tanselle’s Foreword


Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions

Guiding Questions for Vettors (MLA)

Critical Editing in a Digital Horizon (Dino Buzzetti and Jerome McGann)

Levels of Transcription (M. J. Driscoll)

Digital Facsimiles in Editing (Kevin Kiernan)

Writing Systems and Character Representation (Christian Wittern)

How and Why to Formalize Your Markup (Patrick Durusau)

When Not to Use TEI (John Lavagnino)

I offer these chapters as a means to help us reflect and identify some important issues as we begin, and I hope we’ll start discussing these matters here on our communal blog. Welcome Mitfordians! 🙂


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