The Scholarly Edition as Digital Experience Reading, Editing, Curating
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What if the makers of digital scholarly editions reimagined the edition as an exhibition? There is no shortage of vision when it comes to reimagining the digital edition for the future, but innovation always lags behind vision. This affects in particular the call for reader-oriented editions. Digital scholarly editions are, on the whole, rich and useful resources developed to support the critical work of their users. But as resources they can also be complex and somewhat daunting, which does not make them “usable” for a broad spectrum of readers. Bringing curation into the editorial process can help make editions more inclusive and reach a wider readership. To do so is not to change the nature of the game or the purpose of the edition, but to think about simple solutions for how the data and editorial argument can be communicated more clearly and effectively. Though separate activities, curating and editing clearly intersect with one another in the creative-critical modes that they apply to historical artifacts. The aim of both is to contextualize, historicize, and mediate the past for the present. Borrowing some of the verbal, visual, and multimedia tools that curators employ in exhibitions can augment the edition, help guide the reader through the complex data, and support her in becoming the kind of relational reader that the digital scholarly edition envisions.
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