Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS)

[First posted in AWOL 16 December 2013, updated 22 November 2015]

The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS) 
The Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig is pleased to announce a new effort within the Open Philology Project: the Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS). In the first phase of LOFTS we invite public discussion as we finalize the goals, technological methods and editorial practices. LOFTS has been presented at the AIUCD 2013 Conference, at the Digital Classics panel at the 2014 APA Annual Meeting (“Getting Started with Digital Classics”), at the 2. Workshop “Digital Humanities and Social Sciences”, at the Intertextuality Workshop at the Fondation Hardt and at the 2014 NEH Workshop “Publishing Text for a Digital Age”. A workshop at Leipzig in July 2014 (“Open Philology – Historical languages in an open, global society”) has finalized the details of LOFTS. This announcement provides an initial, high-level description of the plan for LOFTS and is intended to provoke open discussion before final decisions are made.
The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series is a new effort to establish open editions of ancient works that survive only through quotations and text re-uses in later texts (i.e., those pieces of information that humanists call “fragments”). In the field of textual evidence, fragments are not portions of an original larger whole, but the result of a work of interpretation conducted by scholars who extract and collect information pertaining to lost works embedded in other surviving texts. These fragments include a great variety of formats that range from verbatim quotations to vague allusions and translations, which are only a more or less shadowy image of the original according to their closer or further distance from a literal citation.
Print editions of fragmentary works include excerpts extracted from their contexts and from the textual data about those contexts. The result is that they produce annotated indices in the sources that they cite. Moreover, editions of fragmentary works are fundamentally hypertexts and the goal of this project is to produce a dynamic infrastructure for a full representation of relationships between sources, citations, and annotations about them. In a true digital edition, fragments are not only linked directly to the source text from which they are drawn, but can also be precisely aligned to multiple editions. Accordingly, digital fragments are contextualized annotations about reused authors and works. As new versions of (or scholarship on) the source text emerge in a standard, machine-actionable form, these new findings are automatically linked to the digital fragments.

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