Exercise 4: XML, The Versioning Tool, and 2 Dragmatica (Dragmaticons?)

In this exercise, I compared a short passage across 2 versions of the Dragmaticon, and used Oxygen to mark up the differences in XML.
For as long as my website at Stanford is around, the comparison in the Versioning Machine is available here..

Here are my observations:

  • The most obvious difference between the two versions was that Stanford’s MSS0412 uses far less abbreviations than e-codices’ Bodmer 188 does. These abbreviations were, honestly, pretty fun to format once I figured it out. I had no idea how the Versioning Machine would handle abbreviations until I finished the exercise; I think it’s done well, with the mouseover bringing up a window with the expanded text.
    In expanding the abbreviations, I relied heavily on both Capelli and MSS0412, although an important note about using the latter is it may result in similarities between the texts where there ought to be differences.
    Another note on abbreviations is that the Versioning Machine and XML take only plaintext, which must of course be for standardization reasons; Thus, you can’t include all the strange characters that are present (with the exception of the Teronian et, which has a Unicode equivalent, apparently (⁊)). For instance, the character(s?) that are used to abbreviate “sexus” (which I inferred from the Stanford manuscript) are entirely illegible to me, and, as far as I know, un-representable using plaintext. TVM’s ability to compare accross texts via mouseover would be an awesome feature to have in Mirador for this reason, since you’d get the side-by-side comparison of the actual image(which is a degree closer to the real object) as well as the precise comparison ability of TVM.

  • This exercise was very useful in finding very small differences between the texts, and also providing a visualisation. For instance, Bodmer doesn’t include the line “Taurum aut et Xginem et capricornum frigidos esse et siccos” at all. In MSS0412, we find “preterire dignum;” in Bodmer, “dignu pterire” (abbreviated.) This makes me wonder a lot about the creation of these two texts; for the most part, the text is identical, so where do these small discrepancies come from?


21 February 2017