Znanstvene izdaje in elektronski medij. Razprave


Matija Ogrin (ed.)

The following summary integrates the main points from the editor’s Introduction with the synopses of the authors’ contributions, thus seeking to provide a comprehensive survey of the issues addressed in the publication.

The present volume of proceedings represents the first Slovenian book uniting well-nigh all the humanistic disciplines in a common task: to reflect on the role of scholarly editions in their own field. Moreover, it is the first to reflect systematically on the methodological and ecdotic issues of scholarly editions in the light of the possibilities opening with the electronic presentation of texts. While some humanistic disciplines in Slovenia boast a long tradition of scholarly editions, reaching back to the first half of the 19th century, others have begun to consolidate their editorial standards fairly recently.

The TEI Consortium’s Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange reconsider the linguistic and text-critical tradition of the European humanities, modifying and updating it in the context of the digital medium. This makes the use of the TEI Guidelines no mere external technical procedure, but a stimulus to an active and reflective participation in the continuation of the great written humanistic tradition. At the same time, such use forms an entrance to the global processes labelled as the digital humanities. And since “no man is an island", the humanities in Slovenia have been no exception in attempting to fall in step with those processes.1 The question to be explored is: how?

Without jumping to conclusions, we may draw on the decades of publishing scholarly editions at the Institute of Slovenian Literature and Literary Science, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU), and at least outline some ecdotic rules which have proved effective.

1. The first rule applies to all text criticism: what is needed is a detailed survey of the original material. Depending on the subject and period, this material may be an autograph or some other manuscript, handwritten copies (if any), the first printed edition, later reprints, etc., as well as possible citations or summaries of the text in other sources.

2. Another rule which has proved meaningful and represents a step forward in the Slovenian editorial technique is the following: At least the editions of older Slovenian texts, including those dating from the first half of the 19th century (and the more recent ones as well), should be prepared so as to lend themselves to the research of various − in theory all − humanistic disciplines. In practice, this means that the edition should preserve all the historical layers of the text which tend to get lost in the so-called standard edition. It should thus distinguish, in principle at least, between the facsimile of the original, the diplomatic transcription, and the critical transcription. This distinction is important not only because all these forms or appearances of the text provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary researches, but also because they enable new approaches within their own discipline.

3. Although European diplomatics subsumes various traditions, characterised by slightly different notions of the diplomatic transcription, there are several arguments in favour of the strict diplomatic transcription. In terms of the somewhat too-pragmatic distinction made by W. W. Gregg between the so-called “substantives" and “accidentals" of a manuscript, the strict diplomatic transcription includes all the “accidental" elements, especially the original punctuation, capitalisation, and division of words; reproduces bohoričica and other historical Slovenian alphabets; does not interfere with abbreviations, etc.

4. The diplomatic transcription should be accompanied by a critical one, modifying the text according to clearly defined, explicit principles and making it more accessible to the reader at certain levels. The critical transcription is also described as “normalised transcription" in some traditions, since it adapts the text according to certain norms and brings it closer to contemporary understanding. Such principles include e.g. the transliteration from historical alphabets to gajica, the resolution of abbreviations and acronyms, possible emendation of damaged parts (duly annotated in the apparatus), updated punctuation, capitalisation, and word division − and, finally, a block of principles guiding linguistic intervention, suited to the nature of the text and the purpose of the edition.

5. Understandably, the edition should be furnished with the appropriate elements of the critical apparatus, such as factual and text-critical notes, a suitable commentary including an explanation of the editorial concept, the necessary indexes, bibliography, etc.

In addition to these, still other elements may be envisaged (especially in electronic form), linking the material to the sources of information or additional explanation. Each scholarly edition is unique, as is the material which it brings to light, and it is precisely the specific features of the material that dictate the editorial concept. “Each ‘author’s philology’ should be modelled on the physiognomy of the author." (Cristofolini) The specific rules arising from the “physiognomy" of the material itself only begin to take shape when it is scrutinised. The rules outlined above, by contrast, are more general, stemming from editorial experience with a great diversity of materials, as well as from the research needs of the Slovenian humanities. What these require of scholarly editions is new or little known material, invariably elucidated from all possible perspectives.


Addressing the problems of scholarly editions in the humanities, the present volume of proceedings focuses on the features unique to the Slovenian literary and documentary materials. The first part, dealing with the issues of electronic scholarly editions and sources, is generally informed by practical experience, both technical and philological.

LOU BURNARD’S essay, “Encoding Standards for the Electronic Edition", addresses some fundamental notions underlying the TEI Guidelines, in particular their approach to text-critical issues. The author discusses the potential benefits of digital text encoding, notably in such fields as corpus linguistics and traditional philology, and describes the increasingly important role played by digital resources and tools in these fields. Finally, he argues that text encoding and digitisation have wider methodological implications and raise issues which are central to humanistic endeavours and concerns.

According to Peter Scherber, who gives a brief survey of computer-based processing of philological texts in the last three decades, one of the most important demands in the field is to ensure that electronic texts will remain machine-readable and interchangeable in the long term − a problem where proper text encoding is of crucial importance (“Von der Computerkonkordanz zur Sprach- und Texttechnologie. Neue Entwicklungen bei der Verarbeitung und Langzeitspeicherung von wissenschaftlich aufbereiteten Texten").

Some solutions to this problem are offered in the essay “Scholarly Digital Editions of Slovenian Literature: Standards and Challenges" by Tomaž Erjavec, their efficiency proved in the Slovenian pilot research project entitled Scholarly Digital Editions of Slovenian Literature (http://nl.ijs.si/e-zrc/index-en.html). Technically, the project is based on the use of open standards for digital text encoding, which should make the project results interchangeable among computer platforms and applications, ensure their clarity, and make them proof against technological change. Introducing the main standards used in the project, namely XML and TEI, the paper describes the methodology of up-translating the materials from their digital source to the canonical standardised format and their down-translation into a format suitable for reading. The author also considers the challenges still ahead, in particular the introduction of language technologies into the compilation and presentation of the project’s digital text-critical editions.

A block of contributions based on the recent researches of Slovenian literary scholars into electronic critical editions opens with Matija Ogrin’s essay “E-Slomšek: The Electronic Edition of Three Sermons on Language by A. M. Slomšek. Text-Critical Issues". Addressing the results of the same project as Erjavec, Ogrin elucidates the text-critical principles underpinning the critical e-edition of three sermons by A. M. Slomšek (1800−1862). His paper focuses on the manner and means by which the manifold properties of the texts, including the historical linguistic features and genre traits, have been rendered accessible to a variety of research approaches.

While Ogrin deals with the rich tradition of ecclesiastical oratory, Luka Vidmar’s paper on “The Electronic Edition of the Correspondence of Žiga Zois" tackles the very different problems involved in editing non-literary texts, written about 200 years ago by cosmopolitan intellectuals of wide erudition. He describes the provenance of the (now electronically published) letters written by Zois, one of the most distinguished figures of the Slovenian Enlightenment, and surveys the history of their editing. Vidmar also provides general information about the letters, their contents, and Zois’s correspondents. After explaining the editorial guidelines applied, the paper presents the advantages of this recent e-edition.

The following two papers focus on the electronic critical editing of belletristic literature proper, both classical and avant-garde. In “The Migration of Alojz Gradnik’s Poetry from Paper to Monitor", Miran Hladnik, one of the editors of the collected works of the classic Slovenian poet Alojz Gradnik (1882−1967), reveals the reasons for preparing an electronic edition of Gradnik’s Pesmi o Maji (Poems about Maja), which has entailed the collation and analysis of a dozen variant copy-texts. MARIJAN DOVIĆ’S paper, “The Preparation of the Electronic Critical Edition of Anton Podbevšek’s Poetry", deals, from an editor’s point of view, with the specific problems posed by the literary estate of the Slovenian avant-garde poet Anton Podbevšek (1898−1981). A general overview of this estate and its idiosyncrasies is followed by an assessment of the editorial priorities, considering the specific possibilities of the e-edition: facsimiles of the author’s manuscripts aligned with the transcription; the transcription of the poet’s own autograph corrections and additions as written in his personal copy of his 1925 poetry edition, etc.

The structural encoding and subsequent use of electronically encoded Slovenian texts, corpora, and dictionaries in linguistics are discussed in two papers concluding the first part of the volume. Han Steenwijk (“The Resianica Dictionary: The First Three Years") presents the Resianica, a dictionary of the local Slovenian dialects of San Giorgio/Bila, Gniva/Njiva, Oseacco/Osojane and Stolvizza/Solbica. They are spoken in the municipality of Resia/Rezija, in the Friuli−Venezia Giulia region of Italy. The data are encoded in an XML document which follows the TEI DTD with the inclusion of the TEI dictionaries module. On the basis of this document, SQL scripts are generated for inserting the data into a relational database that can be queried from the web interface at http://purl.org/resianica/dictionary.

Primož Jakopin and Birte Lönneker-Rodman describe, in their paper “Conversion of the Slovenian Text Corpus Nova beseda into XML", the conversion of 100 million words from the Nova beseda text corpus into XML format, accomplished from January to March 2004. Nova beseda is the largest collection of Slovenian electronic texts searchable over the Internet, including mainly journalistic texts, the formal register, and fiction. The corpus has a concordancer for word and multiword queries, as well as a search engine for word forms, that shows lists furnished with frequencies. The XML format was selected for its good exchange properties and long-lasting text readability, as well as to enable a wider use of the corpus. The paper focuses on the inner structure of the texts and the conversion problems. Although the original (EVA) format of the texts was largely compatible with the recommendations of the TEI standard, it nevertheless followed more closely the format of the printed book sources. This fact required a sizeable amount of work to make the tag beginnings and endings conformant to the XML requirements. The conversion of the character set into Unicode, on the other hand, proved less problematic.

The second part of the volume includes papers discussing, mainly from the viewpoint of modern literary scholarship, the possibilities of electronic media, especially as applied to critical editions.

Since the emphasis on texts shared by the so-called textual disciplines results in a common range of interests, Darko Dolinar’s paper “Critical Editions and Literary Science" sets out to describe the role of critical editions in literary science. In addition to the individual features of each text as handed down, these editions are determined by “internal" aspects − i.e. the theory and methodology, especially the basic views of the nature of literature and literary works of art − as well as by “external" ones, which are related to the functioning of the literary system. These general remarks are followed by a survey of the editorial practice pursued in Slovenian literary scholarship, with an outline of its development from the beginning to the present day and a description of its characteristics, as well as of the most common types of editions in the second half of the 20th century.

Using examples from recent editorial practice, Jože Faganel (“Text-Critical Issues and Electronic Editions") outlines the development of text-critical and editorial rules in Slovenian literary scholarship. They were standardised with the critical edition of the Freising Manuscripts in 1992, thus coming to represent a possible text-critical standard for electronic editions as well. The complex structure built by the facsimile and multiple transcriptions of these medieval documents, including a phonetic transcription, apparatus, and annotations, could be ideally represented in a future e-edition.

According to Marko Juvan’s essay, “Postmodernism and Critical Editions of Literary Texts: Towards a Virtually Present Past", critical editions in a digitised hypertext archive enable literary history to study texts according to the premises of postmodern historicism and its scrutiny of the socio-cultural context. The non-hierarchical structure of electronic text-presentation reveals the role played by the difference between the writing and publishing processes. In cyberspace, literary history does perceive the materiality of the text media, but only in their virtual presence, which facilitates a better analysis of the semiotics of the bibliographical codes. The attention of literary history is thus directed to the cultural objects and practices framing the literary work of art − aspects that have often been neglected.

The promising alternative of using e-archives in literary studies is also discussed by Jola Škulj, who examines the issues of cyberspace textology (“E-texts: Spaces of Inconclusiveness and Spatiality"). The structure of cybertexts and the prospects of information technology (IT) with its hypertextual links generate “new frontiers" of cybertext criticism, leading the humanistic computing activities to reassess the concept and functions of information repositories. The territories of e-textuality facilitate literary research with useful and elegant tools, designed to provide historical insights into literature and cultural memory in an open process. Hypertext environment promises a tool for displaying an authentic text in conjunction with the numerous variants emerging in its making, for critical annotation, or the representation of its intertextuality. Such records of literary facts actually represent the fulfilment of the eternal philological dream: to make textual data available through network access. Moreover, they enable the crossing of the traditional boundaries between disciplines, as well as stimulate the methodology of transdisciplinary research.

The third part comprises papers tackling scholarly editions and source criticism in various humanistic disciplines.

Matej Hriberšek (“Critical Editions of Texts in Classical Philology") maintains that the discipline of classical philology boasts some pioneer work in electronic publishing: e-editions of corpora comprising classical and medieval texts written in Latin and Greek have proved a worldwide success. In Slovenia, however, there has been no project leading to a comparable achievement, despite a rich cultural legacy and the many opportunities it offers to modern scholarship.

Darja Mihelič deals with “Editions of Historical Sources and the Electronic Media". She sets out the major rules for the editorial preparation of historical documents and argues that computer programs allow the typesetting, processing and graphic design of historical sources for print, ensure the consistency and uniformity of standardised records, and facilitate the composition of accompanying registers. The computer also offers the information required for preparing document- and databases. Moreover, digitised collections of original text photographs are replacing microfilms, classic photographs and scanned copies, offering new research possibilities. However, the traditional printed format still has the advantage of longevity, to which, in her opinion, the fast development of computer technology is not yet adjusted.

Marjetka Golež Kaučič attempts to elucidate, in her paper “Slovenian Folk Songs − A Modern Scholarly Corpus", the various methods adopted in editing the corpus of Slovenske ljudske pesmi or SLP (Slovenian Folk Songs); the first four volumes published by Slovenska matica between 1970 and 1998), the most important scholarly collection of folk poetry in Slovenia. The author outlines the reasons for its compilation, its content structure, and the systemisation of its editorial principles. The final issue to be addressed are the advantages and disadvantages of its digitisation, with regard to the complex problems of integrating textual data, musical notation and audio recordings.

Ana Lavrič’s paper, “Critical Editing of Texts and Written and Visual Sources Pertaining to Art History", is conceived as a complex presentation. Outlining the texts and sources interesting for publication from the perspective of art history, it explains the established ecdotic principles in the light of the specific needs and views of the field. Moreover, it offers several concrete suggestions for the conversion of documentary and visual materials into electronic format − especially those needed for the topography of Slovenian art history monuments.

The subject of music is taken up again in the treatise “On the Critical Editing of Musical Manuscripts: The Copies of the Music by Janez Krstnik Dolar" by Tomaž Faganel. The author introduces the theoretical and editorial problems of musical notation in Baroque and earlier musical manuscripts. While nowadays the electronic publication of a musical composition mainly raises issues of copyright protection, original musical notation from the beginnings of mensural music almost till the late 18th century lacks uniformity. The approach depends on the developing relationship between the original, the transcription, and, last but not least, the decisions of the performing musician. The copies of the music composed by Father Dolar (1621−1673) still suggest a strong adherence to the principles of musical time ordering called tempus cum prolatio. In approaching contemporary metrical solutions, on the other hand, they show a continuing link between the original metrical ordering and the works of the recent past.

Fanika Krajnc−Vrečko discusses “The Peculiarities of Transcription and the Share of Biblical Texts in Trubar’s Catechisms". The text processing involved in preparing the collected works of Primož Trubar, the author of the first printed book in the Slovenian language, allows simultaneous content processing in order to determine the percentage of Biblical quotations in his catechisms. The paper outlines the features peculiar to the transcription of mid-16th-century texts, and concludes by indicating Trubar’s theological orientation as suggested by the frequency statistics of his use of Biblical texts.

In the last paper of this collection, “Two Tales from the History of the Collected Works of Slovenian Poets and Prose Writers Series", MARJAN DOLGAN analyses two events which reflect the specific character of the most important text-critical Slovenian collection of the 20th century. The first one reveals how the lagging publication of Srečko Kosovel’s manuscript corpus in this series (paradoxically) led to an enthusiastic response to the poet and to his canonisation. The other case illustrates, by the example of France Koblar’s monograph on Simon Gregorčič, the subordination of the series to the ideology of the totalitarian Communist regime.


Regardless of the differences between the materials of scholarly editions in various humanistic disciplines, or their preferences and editorial concepts, this much is clear: The older Slovenian heritage of books and manuscripts, bibliographies and archives differs greatly from that of western European nations. While western European languages boast hundreds of manuscript codices preserved from the Middle Ages, there is not a single codex written in medieval Slovenian − with the fortunate exception of individual folios containing the oldest Slovenian texts. Thus Slovenian text criticism has practically no opportunity to tackle several manuscript witnesses to a Slovenian text. This possibility arises only with the more recent literature of the Enlightenment and later periods, when the authors would copy and revise their works themselves − which is, of course, an entirely different matter. The greater part of Slovenian written material, if preserved at all, exists in single manuscripts.

It is true that the heritage of Slovenian texts is a relatively modest one. But there is no need to lament this fact, particularly while much still remains unpublished in the archives, sewn into old prints, etc. Moreover, complaints are unwarranted because a closer contact with the material soon reveals its value and significance for our living space, our culture and memory.

This situation calls for a judicious use of ecdotic standards. On the one hand, every older text is of the utmost importance as a document of the Slovenian language − hence the need for a diplomatic transcription. Published in electronic format, all materials of this kind could represent sources for historical descriptions and dictionaries of the Slovenian language. On the other hand, the texts are important for individual disciplines as testimonies to the culture, ideas, personal or social relations, etc. Such studies, as well as pedagogical purposes, require a critical revision of the text in the sense of a normalised transcription. The relative scarcity of Slovenian text heritage calls for editorial concepts emphasising the various forms of the texts (from the diplomatic to the standard one), thus enabling a wide variety of research approaches.

But the question of what material to publish, and how, assumes new proportions as soon as the multilingual character of earlier Slovenian culture is recognised. In this case, a number of important texts written by Slovenian authors in German or Latin becomes eligible for publication. The complexity of the text-critical issues increases as we delve into the past, down to the complicated variability of medieval theological and philosophical texts from Slovenian monastic libraries. An attempt at publishing this kind of codex would open the possibilities of text-critical comparisons in the broadest European context.


The subject of the humanities is the “human record" in the broadest sense of the term: language, thought, arts, history, science. Thus the humanities used to find their objects of research without a mediator, requiring nothing but their own spirit to assess the immediately presented objects. But our acceptance of the fact that the computer offers a more comprehensive survey, even new kinds of survey, entails the recognition that the humanist is now provided with the object of his research by the computer as a machine. This is where the humanities have radically changed their episteme, beginning to adopt the cognitive basis of the technical sciences. This opportunity, however, brings its own dangers, since it might lead to a technisation of the humanities.

There seems to be only one response to this challenge: in order to enter into the global world of the digital humanities, which is inescapably here, we need to reconsider profoundly our personal humanistic stance. To consolidate our identity as humanists, we need a clear and revived awareness of our own, humanistic, goals. And these goals rise vividly before our eyes when we ask of ourselves the fundamental questions: Who are we? Where are we coming from? Where are we going?

We should be united by a common intention to use “the information technology to illuminate the human record, and bring an understanding of the human record to bear on the development and use of information technology". (Schreibman et al.) Therefore we should revive our awareness of the humanistic goals of our work, guiding the tools of modern technology so as to bring us closer to them. With this purpose in mind, we are entering into the global currents of the digital humanities with our Slovenian literary heritage.


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23. December 2005

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Physical Dimensions

148 mm x 210 mm