Text In A Digital Context

Digital Scholarly Editions – Susan Schreibman

The realisation, through the use of the digital text form, that the print book was a somewhat limited, and indeed limiting medium to work with reveals the future potential for the application of technology to text in the digital age. Only when a new way of seeing and experiencing text comes about can the limitations of the traditional be fully revealed. In this sense the digitisation of text is groundbreaking in a variety of ways, and uncovers a new depth of possible experience and dynamic usage of texts in this new medium which “allowed an exploration of textuality beyond the printed word”.

New skills need to be developed to approach editing, reading and indeed using texts in a new, digital era, along with an awareness of the dynamic nature of digital text; always evolving, never finite. While these new skills seemed to develop alongside the digitisation of texts in general, the common framework and interdisciplinary nature of successful digital editing which has evolved more recently requires a re-framing of what editing is considered to be in this digital age.

Digital portrayal is now evolving to become art itself instead of merely a means of representation, “as we enter a period in which the born-digital artifact is more frequently the literary or cultural artifact, and as more derivative works are created without reference to an analog original, scholarly editing may not solely or typically be about migrating the analog into the digital or about re-presenting print norms in digital format.” There is a sense of openness and abundance in the digital scholarly environment, a feeling of creativity and possibility which is inspiring and hopeful.

2013 Susan Schreibman, “Digital Scholarly Editing”

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