[NTG-context] Critical Editions?

Thomas A. Schmitz thomas.schmitz at uni-bonn.de
Tue Jan 4 21:02:34 CET 2022


I basically agree with everything you say, Jean-Pierre. Publishers are modern-day robber barons, and they have been stifling and exploiting scholars and scholarship for many years now. Behemoths such as Brill, de Gruyter, or Elsevier are bankrupting libraries in the entire world. However, we scholars also have some responsibility: if we could agree with each other, we could easily bypass the big publishers and have our critical editions (in a variety of formats) on our university’s websites. But we don’t do that: younger scholars need the validation of big name publications to build reputation and find a job, older scholars (myself included) are vain and/or old-fashioned and prefer a “real” book.

For your questions at the end: as you know, TEI is an insanely huge beast. Nobody will be willing and/or able to implement all of it in ConTeXt. What we need is actual use cases: scholars coming here and building up the expertise via the work they’re actually doing. Preferably in smaller installments so the developers and advanced users can slowly prepare bits and pieces of these stylesheets. No-one is going to look at a 400-page edition with all kinds of special needs in one go; we start with a chapter, a few pages, and we make our way. That’s what I expected when I wrote the wiki page on TEI xml: that it would slowly develop into something more comprehensive. Alas, it has been sitting there for 11 years… Every now and then, someone will appear on the mailing list and say: I need four apparatuses and six parallel translations and bells and whistles at every paragraph, but when you ask for real examples and specifications, they ride out into the sunset, never to be heard of again… So: I’m all for continuing in this direction, but we need some continuity. (And, not to brag, but still: I even managed to obtain some funding a couple of years ago to improve the bibliographical support in ConTeXt; if you have a real project, you can always allocate some funding for these things). As for learning TEI: I really think this is absolutely inevitable; even if new formats will be invented in the future (and TEI has serious shortcomings for many sorts of manuscript traditions), they will probably do so with TEI as a starting point.

I’m not working on a critical edition right now, but I have done some preparatory work and am willing to chip in!

All best

Thomas

> On 4. Jan 2022, at 18:54, Jean-Pierre Delange via ntg-context <ntg-context at ntg.nl> wrote:
> 
> Thomas,
> 
> You are deeply right ! But this is an issue in academic edition, not only because students read no more at length (specially in humanities), and by consequence, don't buy books, but among other reasons there is a general problem in publishing in academic fields, pointed by Jürgen Hanneder : even Universities libraries don't buy all items published by scholars in a specific field, but publishers themselves have leveled the academic criterium by commercial/economic considerations. Then, scholars have to gather financial funding with technical computing practice, which is another issue, and furthermore they have to find money in order to publish at expansive cost (see Brill prices, for example).
> 
> You are right about some academic tools, like those developed by Tuft University (like ancient greek thesaurus : http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/ or The Liddell-Scott-Jones online dictionary : http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/lsj/#eid=1), but for providing such tools as online digital work, there is two ways :
> 
> 1. Academic courses on TEI XML given to advanced students in order to help them to produce well achieved projects (and provide manuals to do that; an example here in French  : http://www.bvh.univ-tours.fr/XML-TEI/ManuelWeb/Manuel_TEI_BVH.html)
> 
> 2. Or, there are not so numerous nests like NTG-Context discussion list ! How to help Jürgen (and scholars generally) who knock at the door looking for an analysis of their needs and questioning how ConTeXt may help them ?
> 
> a) They have to learn TEI XML, then
> 
> b) learn Context stylesheet !
> 
> Is it possible to gather a group of people interested by these topics ? Are we starting today ?



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