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    Dante Alighieri. Commedia. A Digital Edition
    (Inkless Editions, Saskatoon; Fondazione Ezio Franceschini, Florence, 2021-11-09) Robinson, Peter M. W.; Shaw, Prue
    This web site contains high-resolution full colour digital images and highly-detailed transcriptions of seven key early manuscripts of Dante’s Commedia – some of the most precious and beautiful surviving copies of the poem. It contains the text of two landmark print editions, those of Giorgio Petrocchi (1966) and Federico Sanguineti (2001). It offers a full word-by-word collation of the text, showing all variants at every word, viewable in either the original manuscript spelling or in a standardised form. Sophisticated software allows easy magnification and movement around the images. A drop-down menu at the right of the header allows the user to choose a particular manuscript; cantica-canto-line choices allow easy movement around the text. A metrical analysis of each line can be accessed from the collation. Specialized search tools enable new ways of exploring the relations between the versions: the unique VBase feature offers complex searches for variants by their distribution in the manuscripts. A comprehensive introduction by the editor explains the methodology of the transcriptions, and gives detailed transcription notes, as well as descriptions, for each manuscript. It analyses the interrelationships between the manuscripts, testing the editorial hypothesis of manuscript relations which underlies the Sanguineti edition, for whom these seven manuscripts were both ‘necessary and sufficient’ to produce a scholarly critical edition of the poem. As well as providing all the primary evidence for scholars wishing to explore the Sanguineti edition and its relationship to the Petrocchi edition, and a detailed analysis of that evidence, the web site will be a valuable teaching tool for palaeographers, codicologists and textual critics. A new Preface (2021) explains how this second edition of the web site stands in relation to the first edition (2010). The first edition remains online at as a historical record of a ground-breaking early digital edition of a medieval text.
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    An approach to complex texts in multiple documents
    (Digital Studies in the Humanities, 2022) Robinson, Peter M. W.
    This article describes an approach to the treatment of texts in complex large textual traditions. Editors are interested in the text as it appears line-by-line in each document, and in how the versions of the text differ from document to document. It is useful to define a text as the record of an act of communication, inscribed in a document: thus, the instance of the act of communication we identify as Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as it appears in the Hengwrt manuscript. In this view, every text has a dual aspect: it is both the words as they are inscribed in a particular document, and as they constitute an act of communication and its parts. This presents challenges for scholars who wish to record both aspects. In encoding implementations, these two aspects are commonly treated as ‘overlapping hierarchies’. However, the ‘overlapping hierarchy’ model does not deal with cases where text segments are not contiguous in either aspect and cannot overlap cleanly. To meet these cases, the Textual Communities project developed an architecture in which the two aspects are represented as distinct and independent hierarchies (trees), with text segments referenced to nodes on each tree. The linking of text segments to the two trees is managed by a JSON database, accessed through transcription and collation tools presented in a Web interface. Textual Communities does not implement the whole of this architecture in terms of validation, ingestion, and processing. Full exploration and implementation of the architecture here described are challenges for future scholars.