Presenting Textual Variants

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Presenting Textual Variants

Peter L. Shillingsburg
The desire to have multiple versions of a single work linked at all
its variant points makes good sense for works that do not vary at
nearly every point.  Even when they do, it would be desirable to
be able to call up either a list of all variants for a given word
or passage or to call up a specific variant text complete with ITS
context.

MacCase is a hypertext collation program that produces in hypercard
enviornment a list of variants AND a linking of the collated texts.
MacCase is the work of Phill Berrie at the Australian Defence Force
Academy.  It's predecesor, PC-Case, developed at Mississippi State U
was designed for use with long prose texts.

And I have a question about the implications of SGML/TEI markup.  If
the idea of SGML is to make the porting of electronic texts from
one platform to another, isn't the idea of maintaining a single
text or archive in one place for everyone to use there (by net)
contrary to the capability provided by SGML?  Is it not the case
that any thought of controlling the text, once it is made available,
is a forlorn hope?  Quality control of texts has never been in hand;
it will be less so, already is less so, with electronic texts.  But
one's individual use, and what we teach our students, should address
the issue of identifying and verifying texts.

   --Peter Shillingsburg
    [hidden email]