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Why Interfaces Do Not and Should Not Matter for Scholarly Digital Editions

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Digital Editions as Interfaces: Graz 2016
Talk given at conference in Graz, Austria, September 2016

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Why Interfaces Do Not and Should Not Matter for Scholarly Digital Editions

  1. 1. Why Interfaces Do Not and Should Not Matter for Scholarly Digital Editions University of Graz 24 September 2016 Peter Robinson peter.robinson@usask.ca @scholdigeds
  2. 2. Something to read “Project-based digital humanities and social, digital, and scholarly editions” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 2016 See the link in the Twitter #DSEasInterfaces feed Google: Peter Robinson Academia
  3. 3. The symposium will discuss the relationship between digital scholarly editing and interfaces by bringing together experts of DSEs and Interface Design, editors and users of editions, web designers and developers. It will include the discussion of (graphical/user) interfaces of DSEs as much as conceptualizing the digital edition itself as an interface. – Call for papers, Graz symposium on interfaces and editions, 1 February 2016 Digital Scholarly Editions as Interfaces
  4. 4. 1996
  5. 5. 2000
  6. 6. 2003
  7. 7. 2006
  8. 8. 2010
  9. 9. 1. Your interface is critical to the success of your edition 2. With the right interface, the edition can reach a far wider audience Some truths universally acknowledged?
  10. 10. • Reach the widest possible audience • Have the best possible interface • Get the grant application right • Get the data right • Make the data available to others Your priorities as an editor
  11. 11. 1. Get the grant application right 2. Have the best possible interface 3. Reach the widest possible audience 4. Get the data right 5. Make the data available to others What you are likely to decide WRONG
  12. 12. A scholarly edition is one where scholarly attention has been paid to every word It’s the data, stupid
  13. 13. ACCURACY
  14. 14. Hamlet 1611, Bodleian Library copy, page 11
  15. 15. Excessive concentration on the interface • To please grant funders • The fetishization of the document
  16. 16. Inferno 4.9: Martini copy Mart-orig=Aldus 1515 Mart-c2=Martini collation
  17. 17. USE BY 1 JANUARY 2020
  18. 18. Ten years, three million editorial acts • 14223 lines • c. 102,000 words in each ms/edition. 9 mss/editions: c. 900,000 words • 98,282 places of variation in the collation • Approx 2 checks of each decision
  19. 19. My interface is your enemy Me, quoted by Michael Sperberg-McQueen
  20. 20. 1. Get the data right 2. Make the data available to others 3. Have the best possible interface 4. Get the grant application right 5. Reach the widest possible audience What you should decide
  21. 21. 1. Editions should be created for and by communities 2. Editors should lead communities, not projects 3. Editions should be “designed for generosity” Editors, editions, the community
  22. 22. Clay Shirkey: “Design for Generosity” • Images, transcripts, collations made available free to all without restriction • A valid model of texts, documents and works • Free to all means Free to all
  23. 23. Jerome McGann: “In the next 50 years the entirety of our inherited archive of cultural works will have to be re-edited within a network of digital storage.”
  24. 24. Where do I sign up?

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