SGML: Piers Plowman Archive Update


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Date:         Wed, 14 Dec 1994 09:07:00 -0500
Reply-To: Medieval Texts - Philology Codicology and Technology
Sender: Medieval Texts - Philology Codicology and Technology
Subject:      Re: Electronic _Piers Plowman_?
To: Multiple recipients of list MEDTEXTL <MEDTEXTL%UIUCVMD.bitnet@UTARLVM1.UTA.EDU>


The Electronic Piers Plowman Archive is very much in the
beginning stages of work.  It is being created by a primary team
of Robert Adams, Eric Eliason, Ralph Hanna, Thorlac
Turville-Petre, and me, but other scholars are contributing
documentary editions of various manuscripts.  We have begun by
making transcriptions of a dozen manuscripts in all three
traditions.  None is complete at this moment, though we expect to
publish our first text, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS 201,
next summer as the first volume in Series A of the Society for
Early English and Norse Electronic Texts (SEENET) with the
University of Michigan Press.  The following year we will hope to
publish a documentary edition of Trinity College, Cambridge, MS
B.15.17 hypertextually linked to a color digital facsimile of the
entire text.  Eventually--and how eventual will depend upon
external funding--we will plan to present documentary edition of
every witness, each hypertextually linked to all other witnesses
and to its color facsimile (where permissions make that
possible).  We plan as well to reconstruct archetypal texts of
each of the three versions, critical editions of the manuscripts
representing splices of the versions, and critical texts.  At
each level of the Archive, texts will be accompanied by
appropriate annotation as well as linguistic, codicological,
paleographic, historical, comical-pastoral-tragical materials.

A good bit of work remains to be done with all of this.  I put
together last spring a very crude synecdoche for the project and
put it up on the World Wide Web.  HTML markup is fairly
rudimentary in relation to the full SGML markup we are
incorporating into our texts, and the linkages, especially those
between texts and notes, are embarrassingly crude.  The color
digital facsimiles of selected pages are for the most part small
jpeg and gif files and thus only begin to suggest what can be
done with larger files.  Nevertheless, as a suggestion of the
shape of part of the Archive, you might find it interesting.  If
you have access either to Mosaic or Netscape (the latter is
faster, especially with the images), you can access it at the
following URL:
That puts you on the home page of the Institute for Advanced
Technology in the Humanities.  Click on "Publications" and then
on "Research Reports" and then on "Piers Plowman."  The central
point for navigating that research report is the "Table of
Contents" rather than the first page you see.  I shall be
grateful for criticism and comments, for we are making it up as
we go along.  Ideas will be appreciated.

The other Research Reports at the same site are interesting as well,
each representing an approach to hypertextually linked pictoral and
textual archives.

Thanks for asking about the Piers Archive.
Dug Duggan

Hoyt N. Duggan                  (804) 924-6630
Department of English                 296-0706
University of Virginia       Fax (804) 924-1478
Charlottesville, VA 22903     e-mail