Institute for Documentology and Scholarly Editing


a catalog of: Digital Scholarly Editions, v 3.0, snapshot 2008ff

by Patrick Sahle, 2008-2011

Version 3.0

I've been interested in digital scholarly editing roughly since 1994. I still try to keep an eye on the ongoing developments in this area and I continuously collect hints on digital editions. This list is replacing my Virtual Library Page on "(Digitale) Editionstechnik" from the year 2000 which I retrospectively would call Version 2.0. There were even earlier lists from 1998 and 1997 which I now call V1.0 and V0.8 respectively.

Snapshot 2008

Im doing a lot of things. Too many things. Too many projects. This is just one of them and is restricted to my leisure time. I will not be able to update this list regularly. But I will (usually positively) respond to active requests for changes, additions and the like.


Since most digital editions don't really fit into the traditional bibliographic model, usually there are no bibliographic library records available for them. I try to create bibliographic-like data as far as possible by collecting names of general editors, places of (virtual) publishing, publishing institutions, years of publishing and ISBN-numbers (where available) to help make these editions identifiable and referenceable.
Whenever possible I use snippets of self-descriptions from the web pages of the editions as comments. Otherwise I describe the editions from my point of interest.


"Tell me what the resource is like by telling me your biases". What I see is what you get. I'm working in Germany with a background in (medieval) history. I'd locate myself in the area of Digital Humanities with emphasis on methods at large. Nevertheless German projects will inevitably be overrepresented as well as historical projects, projects from Europe, and projects documented in Western languages.

Definition of "digital scholarly edition"

My working definition is "Edition ist die erschließende Wiedergabe historischer Dokumente" which cannot be translated into English straight. "A scholarly edition is the critical representation of historical documents" would be a fair approximation. Here we have three argument places:

  1. "historical documents": editing is concerned with documents which are already there. In this wide sense of "historical" the definition includes documents relevant for all subjects, history as well as literature or philosophy. Scholarly editing goes back to and starts from existing documents. To edit (to publish) a new document (which doesn't refer to something preexisting) is not scholarly editing.
  2. "representation": covers (abstract) representation as well as presentation (reproduction). As I use to say: transmedialization (representation by data) and medialization (presentation by media). Publishing descriptive data (e.g. metadata) without reproduction is not critical editing. A catalogue, a database, a calendar is not an edition.
  3. "critical / scholarly" (erschlieend): reproduction of documents without critical examination is not scholarly editing. A facsimile is not a scholarly edition.

That's a wide definition of what "scholarly editing" is. But what is "digital scholarly editing"? Digital scholarly editions are not just scholarly editions in digital media. I distinguish between digital and digitized. A digitized print edition is not a "digital edition" in the strict sense used here. A digital edition can not be printed without a loss of information and/or functionality. The digital edition is guided by a different paradigm. If the paradigm of an edition is limited to the two-dimensional space of the "page" and to typographic means of information representation, then it is not a digital edition.

What's on the list, what's not?

Everything that's known to me and that matches the definition given above is on the list. I restricted the list to "real editions" and "the editions themselves", which means I leave out announcements of digital editions (with some exceptions, where publishing is expected in the near future), prototypes (in most cases), purely experimental projects and editions aborted or abandoned in an early stage. Some of these projects might nevertheless be highly interesting from a methodological point of view. According to my own definition I also leave out web-resources which only accompany the creation of printed editions (even if there is digital content or there are tools provided), which document printed editions or which are digital representations of printed volumes. I ignore "digital libraries", pedagogical resources, simple transcriptions or facsimiles and projects which explicitly aim at something else than establishing an "edition".
The preceding list (V2.0) from the year 2000 had a much wider scope. There were for example links on similar lists, institutions, conferences and texts on digital editing. I don't have the time to provide updated lists on these matters right now. There will be an extensive bibliography on digital editing incorporated into my dissertation which I will make publicly accessible after its submission.


This is a catalog of single editions. But sometimes it's not easy to tell the edition as a publication from the edition as a project. Projects may result in various single publications which are like the volumes of a printed series. The "Canterbury Tales Project" or the "Fontes Civitatis Ratisponensis" for example each make one entry in the catalog. But the "Romantic Circles Electronic Editions" are given in itemized form, thus amounting to more than 20 entries.


I have been thinking about appropriate categories to group the editions together for a long time. I havent found a convincing taxonomy. There is a field in my data for catchwords (an uncontrolled vocabulary) which dont yield a good taxonomy, so I dont use them for grouping. I supply descriptive data on some other categories and use them for grouping and ordering

  • title (for ordering): usually the family name of an author, the title of a work, the name of a project
  • general subject area: literature, history (including history of science), philosophy (including theology), musicology so far.
  • material: collected works, collections of texts, single works, single manuscripts, papers, charters, letters, archival holdings (in a general sense; a residual category). Well, at least this classification seems to work. Collected works may contain other material like papers or letters. Single manuscripts may also be multi volume manuscripts or series of manuscripts (like with administrative records).
  • language: the predominant language of the documents in question. The catchword can be given more than once.
  • epoch: antiquity (-500), early (500-1000) / high (1000-1250) / late (1250-1500) middle ages, early modern (1500-1800), modern (1800-). According to the majority of the material in a project.
  • recommended: Im interested in the evolution of methods and technologies in scholarly editing. Recommended projects are projects which contribute in a particular way to the development of digital editing or which are exemplarily good editions. The question is: Which projects would I present in a seminar on digital scholarly editing?

Cross-Category-lists can easily be generated. Is there a desire for such? Example: Editions of modern single works in literature would result in a list of 29.

Technical background

Everything comes from an XML resource. All pages are generated by XSLT sheets.

main page

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