- Open Editions Online
Scholarly editing is commonly the work of specialists. For readers and users, engaging with editions in print has in the past been [End Page 163] essentially receptive, static, and noninteractive. This need no longer be so for editions in the digital medium. Open Editions Online (<open-editions.org>) offers James Joyce's Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses for interactive use in a progressive dialog. 1 The foundational texts are the reading texts for these works from the scholarly editions prepared by Hans Walter Gabler and his co-editors in 1993—Dubliners and A Portrait —and the 1984/1986 Ulysses. To these, our community, comprised of literature professors, Joyce enthusiasts, and university students, has added tens of thousands of annotations, describing the texts and connecting them to the rich bodies of literary critical knowledge that surround them. 2 We aim to aggregate, organize, and analyze the literary discussions related to these works and to provide them to the public in a way that is community-owned, open access, and open source.
It is a testament to the highly allusive and intertextual nature of Joyce's works that our editions are by no means the first to attempt to reify their many allusions with hypertext. For Ulysses alone, there is Amanda Visconti's crowd-annotated Infinite "Ulysses," John Hunt's Joyce Project, Michael Groden's "James Joyce's Ulysses in Hypermedia," and Heyward Ehrlich's interface demonstration of The James Joyce Text Machine , among others. 3 We acknowledge the ingenuity of these precursors, but given their short lives as projects (as perhaps with most digital editions), we have endeavored all the more carefully to choose technological systems that will ensure that our textual infrastructures are as robust and future-proof as possible. To this end, we have prioritized the creation of a well-structured dataset over a user interface; that is, we value the text more than its packaging. This allows us to concentrate on community knowledge, rather than product creation or curation. To ensure this, we have released the work under a copyleft license, thus providing the basis for reuse and remix of our work as responding users see fit. 4 Our guiding principles are decentralization, standards-compliance, and distributed versioning. What this means for readers of Joyce is the ability to collaborate with dozens of other Joyceans in creating editions with very broad virtual margins.
Modern digital editions need not suffer from the same limitations as their earlier counterparts or their print versions. "Web 2.0" interactivity technologies let the user decide what he or she wants to see on a given page, allowing an edition to be simultaneously feature-rich and distraction-free. 5 In Open Editions Online, the texts display several of these features. Among them are dialog attribution, text genre, language, and line numbers. The categories may be toggled on or off by the reader. The line numbers provide elementary orientation for the digital intra-text navigation, as well as for moving between screen and book: for all three of these edited Joyce texts, the line numbers [End Page 164] are identical throughout in the respective digital and book publications. Text genre and language help to gauge the stylistic width of the narrative. Dialog attribution serves to identify characters narrated as speaking and to research the intensity of their participation in the narrated events, as well as, for instance, what they are severally and together talking about. We believe this will greatly improve the reading experience for new and veteran readers of Joyce alike.
Features we are currently developing include markup denoting cross-references, distinctive words, personal names, locations, thoughts on the part of the narrated characters, and thematic fields on the part of the narrative texts themselves. Cross-references track leitmotifs and other recurring phrases, such as Leopold Bloom's lemon soap (U 5.512 and in passing) or Stephen's "agenbite of inwit" (U 1.481 and in passing). Distinctive words show Joycean neologisms, according to a taxonomy that labels them as archaisms, nonstandard compounds, dialect words, and others. Personal names track the people appearing in the...