Digital Humanities Guide: Digital Editions

Digital Editions

A digital scholarly edition is usually the recreation of a historical document that has been carefully curated and edited using scholarly methods in textual editing. These editions usually include annotations of some sort and the ability for us to search through its pages. Digital editions can vary from the very minimal to the very complex, allowing for many forms of interactions. Some editions allow us to interact with categories of words within it: names, places, etc. Others allow us to see many views of the same document: image of the originals, diplomatic or reading transcriptions, historical variations, etc.

What We Support

We offer different levels of support depending on the type of edition you want to make.

Minimal Editions: A minimal digital edition in our usage is an edition with text, footnotes, a search box and optional 3rd-party annotation capacity. You can view an example here. We use static site generation and a set of tools we created at Columbia, called Ed, to produce these kinds of editions. In order to create your own, we would help you set up the working environment in your computer, teach you how to use the different tools you will need, and help you publish the edition on our servers if you want.

TEI and other formats: The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) is an established markup standard used by humanities scholars worldwide to help them design complex digital editions. We provide consultations for TEI and any other kinds of critical editions, even if we cannot join you as co-producers. To learn more, please reach out to us.

Examples from Columbia University

Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France

Ms. Fr. 640 is a unique manuscript composed in 1580s Toulouse. It offers firsthand insight into making and materials from a time when artists were scientists.

"...... et les chiens se taisaient" by Aimé Césaire

This text by the poet and statesman from Martinique, Aimé Césaire, is based on the Haitian Revolution. The edition includes introductory materials, a reading edition, photographs of the original, and a diplomatic interpretation of the final authorial stage of the Saint-Dié witness of the text.