Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fragmentary Texts: Quotations and Text Re-uses of Lost Authors and Works

[First posted in AWOL 18 February 2010. Updated 31 October 2013]

Fragmentary Texts: Quotations and Text Re-uses of Lost Authors and Works
Fragmentary Texts is a project directed by Monica Berti and devoted to methodologies and tools for collecting and representing quotations and text re-uses of Classical sources.
In the field of textual criticism, “fragments” are the result of a work of extraction and interpretation of information pertaining to lost works that is embedded in surviving texts. These fragments of information derive from a great variety of text re-uses that range from verbatim quotations to vague allusions and translations.

One of the main challenges when looking for traces of lost works is the reconstruction of the complex relationship between the fragment and its source of transmission. Pursuing this goal means dealing with three main tasks: 1) weighing the level of interference played by the author who has reused and transformed the original context of the fragment; 2) measuring the distance between the source text and the derived text; 3) trying to perceive the degree of text re-use and its effects on the final text.

The first step for rethinking the role of the fragment within its context is to provide a new methodology for identifying and representing historical sources based on information technologies. Such an achievement enables the building of digital collections designed not only to preserve but also to extend principles that traditional scholarship has developed over generations, while also representing every element of print conventions in a more dynamic and interconnected way.

Collecting text re-uses is a well-established tradition and the great enterprises of scholars from the Renaissance onward have permitted us to rediscover and preserve an inestimable cultural heritage otherwise lost and forgotten. At the same time, looking for remains of lost works is a very useful methodological exercise for practicing reconstruction of ancient testimonies, and it is also a stimulus for interdisciplinarity, given that an editor has to face a lot of problems deriving from the great variety of subjects and from many different kinds of texts that usually form a collection of fragments.

The main goal of this project is to discuss models and tools for representing quotations and text re-uses in a digital library, building a collaborative environment for scholars, students, and enthusiasts who are interested in the topic.


In this page we collect papers concerning topics related to Fragmentary Texts. Go to Documents for other contributions on quotations and text re-uses.
  • M. Berti, M. Romanello, A. Babeu, G. Crane. “Collecting Fragmentary Authors in a Digital Library.” In Proceedings of the 2009 Joint International Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL ’09). Austin, TX, 259-62. New York, NY: ACM Digital Library (download PDF)
  • M. Berti, M. Romanello, A. Babeu, G. Crane. “When Printed Hypertexts Go Digital: Information Extraction from the Parsing of Indices.” In Hypertext 2009: Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia, Turin, Italy, 357-58. New York, NY: ACM Digital Library (download PDF)
  • M. Berti, M. Romanello, F. Boschetti, A. Babeu, G. Crane. “Rethinking Critical Editions of Fragmentary Texts by Ontologies.” In ELPUB 2009: 13th International Conference on Electronic Publishing: Rethinking Electronic Publishing: Innovation in Communication Paradigms and Technologies, Milan, Italy, 155-74 (download PDF)
  • G. Crane. “From Subjects to Citizens in a Global Republic of Letters”. In Going Digital. Evolutionary and Revolutionary Aspects of Digitization. Ed. K. Grandin. Nobel Symposium 147. The Nobel Foundation, 2011, pp. 251-254 (download PDF)


  • Fragmentary Texts and Digital Libraries (Monica Berti) (download PDF)
  • Representing Citations in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists (Monica Berti & Virgilio Costa) (download PDF)
  • The Edition of Fragmentary Texts: Scattered Remarks (Virgilio Costa) (download PDF)

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