“Here to enter a dyvel wyth thunder and fyre” - a plea for editorial infrastructure in the digital age




Cummings, James

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The editing of late-medieval plays involves making many individual decisions, but rather than making the editor’s job easier, digital technology often adds additional burdens, demanding the knowledge of encoding formats, fighting for server space, and planning for the long-term preservation of their cherished editions. Using the editing of late-medieval drama as a case study, Cummings argues that the existing infrastructure for digital textual editing fails to provide textual editors with the appropriate tools for the job of producing scholarly editions that are truly digital. A long-term proponent of standards such as the Text Encoding Initiative, he does not suggest that we do away with any of these concerns, but rather that we create standardised hosted interfaces for editorial tasks that leverage the power and expressivity of standards, while simultaneously assisting with long-term preservation. There are other potential benefits: such infrastructure could also enable data science research into editorial methods and the decisions editors make concerning any individual task, paving the way for more intelligent software in the future.