Scholarly editions in print and on the screen: A theoretical comparison

Daniel Sondheim, Geoffrey Rockwell, Stan Ruecker, Mihaela Ilovan, Jennifer Windsor, Luciano Frizzera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the advent of digital scholarly editions, there have been many arguments to the effect that digital versions are able to offer more to humanities scholars than printed ones. Though this opinion is shared by most scholars producing digital editions, a number have also published printed versions alongside or even after launching digital ones. To address the apparent contradiction between theoretical discourse and actual practice, this chapter will analyze two scholarly editions that have been implemented in both digital and printed environments by the same editor(s). Scholarly editions that we intend to focus on include the British Library, National Library of Russia, St. Catherine's Monastery, and Leipzig University Library's edition of the Codex Sinaiticus, and Daniel Paul O'Donnell's edition of Cædmon's hymn. By comparing statements of purpose, interface features, and content, we will identify the structures and characteristics that are either shared or unique in each edition. Having conducted a detailed analysis of each edition, we will then evaluate each scholarly edition by applying to it a relevant theory of new media. Theories that we will use include Lev Manovich's The language of new media, and Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin's Remediation: Understanding new media. A view of the scholarly edition as a particular instance within the broader context of current media theory will thereby be developed. The vantage point thus obtained will allow for a more moderate evaluation of the relative advantages and disadvantages of printed and digital scholarly editions than has been available thus far.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigital Studies/Le champ numérique
Issue number0
StatePublished - 2016


  • Scholarly editions
  • interface design
  • digital humanities
  • media studies


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