Automated collation of literary and historical texts

Collation, an important step in scholarly editing, involves comparing two or more versions of a work. The aim of this project is on the one hand to reflect on the collation process, where we deal with questions such as “how do we define ‘textual variation’?” and “what are the methodological ramifications of automating this important step in text research?” We elaborate these and similar research questions in theoretical contributions and by making (prototype) collation tools. This includes the tool CollateX, which was developed in 2011 and is used by many international edition projects.

In addition, we are working on the further development of the advanced collation software HyperCollate, in which certain information in the markup is used to include variation within one text witness (such as deletions or additions) in the text comparison. In this way, researchers gain a better and more detailed understanding of the text variation. An important part of this project is investigating how collation software can process longer texts. Also, the order in which text witnesses are entered should not affect the collation result. These are two complex problems that scientists have been grappling with for some time, and solving them will be an important step for the field.

Finally, the project deals with the challenge: how do you visualize such a detailed collation result?