[NTG-context] Critical Editions?

hanneder at staff.uni-marburg.de hanneder at staff.uni-marburg.de
Wed Jan 5 12:52:32 CET 2022

Dear critical edition experts,

the examples given in ConTeXt_Test_Footnote-ComplexMedieval.pdf and  
the other posts are really
answering my questions. Everything seems to be already there and if  
there were a Wiki on critical
editions I would perhaps have not even asked. Thanks a lot! If  
anything else is planned by the
experts and you need input from a Sanskrit editor, please let me know.

As far as I see, no ConTeXt input format for critical editions is  
needed, but since the topic is
being discussed -

> I don’t see any future in developing a ConTeXt input format for  
> critical editions, for the following reasons:
> 1. Producing a print-only version (i.e. printed book) makes no sense  
> in 2022. This is not sustainable because
> no-one will be able to take your edition and continue to work on it.  
> You have to provide a digital edition as research data.
> 2. This digital edition has to be in a standard format that is  
> sustainable at least for some time so it can be processed with  
> various types of software. TEI xml has become the de facto standard.

I must disagree. There is no print only version any more, so the first  
question is: Is a pdf more
sustainable, or an online edition (based on html etc.)? Time will  
tell, I guess. The same applies
to TEI based online editions by the way. No larger texts have been  
edited by that method yet (in my
field), many projects are being worked on, but they tend not to be  
finished, when the project
ends. Some of the people actually working with both TeX and XML-based  
say that the latter
significantly slows down the collation process.

At least in Indology books and scans are still being used. Everyone is  
talking about online
editions, data repositories etc., but the reality as I experience it  
is not up to these
expectations. One of our great paleographical online tools was almost  
lost, since there is no institutional
funding for updating those systems. Even finding a host for an online  
edition can be (and is in our
case) a nightmare. In short, my solution is: printed version as in the  
last centuries, possibly
additional online edition with a shorter life span and online  
publication of research data. This
sounds great, but actually we are talking mainly about the collation  
file, that is, the TeX-input
file. Not a big deal, since now this can be turned into xml by  
ekdosis, and that's it. The mss
scans are prohibited from online publication by German copy right (no  
Indian institution will grant
any rights).

Let me emphasize that I am not at all against these new possibilities.  
I was part of an online
dictionary project (nws.uzi.uni-halle.de) that worked with TEI and  
everything else, but after the
threat to close down Indology in Halle (the location of the  
dictionary), I have to finance
occasional updates from our normal budget (the DFG had decreed that no  
further funding for this
project was possible) and after my retirement - I have no great hopes  
for a continuation of my
post - it might become quickly useless. As long as we have enough  
nerds who can and will do
the necessary work privately, we are safe.

> 3. ConTeXt is not stable enough to provide such a standard format:  
> it is in development; what you code today may not be compilable in 2  
> (or 5 or 50) years.

Perhaps not, but I had much fun just checking out its possibilities  
and have started to use it as the default.

> 4. However, ConTeXt is wonderful for processing xml.
> Hence: keep the input source and the processing separate. Code in  
> TEI xml (or a subset of it) and develop a ConTeXt stylesheet to  
> process it.

I am used to TeX-code, and so I'd rather stick to that and let ekdosis  
do the conversion,
if necessary. But in publication practice in my field, most of this is  
just for private
entertainment. Almost all publishers still expect a Word file, so the  
tool of choice
is pandoc to downgrade from TeX to docx. Sorry to end on this depressing note.


Prof. Dr. Juergen Hanneder
Philipps-Universitaet Marburg
FG Indologie u. Tibetologie
35032 Marburg
Tel. 0049-6421-28-24930
hanneder at staff.uni-marburg.de

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