Edition Lab

Head: Prof. Dr. Jörg Wesche

The Edition Lab engages in methods for the mark-up of text collections and digital historical editions from a literary studies perspective. It emerged from various Campuslab projects and collaborates closely with the Göttingen Digitisation Centre and the SUB's "Research and Development" department.

Digital editing, especially creating and utilising the digital editions, serves as a link to connect the field of literary studies with the more formalised sciences of corpus linguistics as well as computer science.

The Edition Lab is primarily concerned with the generation of data, meaning philologically correctly edited texts. An edition could follow a multitude of different approaches. They could serve a documentary or diplomatic function and be focused on their creation process or historical-criticalcontextualisation. In any case, they have to consist of three parts, all being based on a solid methodology: Preservation, presentation and annotation, each pertaining to all kinds of different texts in different languages and writing systems. That said, we are dealing less with Big Data and rather with the production, processing and partially the analysis of dense, complex data.

The first step is performing OCR (optical character recognition) on the handwritten or printed texts. Since we need an accuractely transcribed text for scholarly editions, a lot of corrective work is usually necessary. To reduce this workload, further development of the technologies is needed. For this purpose we are in contact with the team of OCR-D, the DFG-funded initiative for the development of Optical Character Recognition.

In the second step, the transcribed texts must be marked up. On the one hand, this is done automatically, as in part-of-speech annotation, which assigns word types to the tokens. On the other hand, various formal and content-related aspects have to be manually annotated.

In the example image, you can see a screenshot from the database "Interactional speech in the plays of Andreas Gryphius". This emerged from the already completed DFG-funded project of the same name. In this project we used an annotated databse (based on the database architecture ANNIS3) containing the complete dramatic works of Andreas Gryphius with the goal of researching corpus-based questions from a cross-literary and cross-linguistic perspective.

Overall, digital editing is an evolving field. Since the 19th century, standards of historical-critical editions have been developed in the philologies, which now have to be transferred to the digital space. The challenge is to combine traditional criteria and methods with the possibilities of the Digital Humanities. Standards that have already been introduced (f. e. TEI), must be partially adapted and expanded. In addition, the commitment to the FAIR principles poses different challenges for researchers. For more information on the debate on digital editing, feel free to take a look at the "Manifesto for Digital Editions", which was produced during this year's DHd conference.

We are planning - subject to approval - a project on Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's works. The goal is not only to create an edition of one of the most influental German-language writers, but at the same time to contribute to the theory and methodology of digital editing.


You can find more information about the Lab's activities here.