Tuesday, February 16, 2010

James Ascher: "Diplomatic E-Transcriptions"

James P. Ascher
University of Colorado at Boulder

The Words Must be Cousin to the Deed, or Must be a Trick of the Document: the Duty of the Diplomatic Transcription in the Ecosystem of Digital Reproduction



Whitney said...

I really enjoyed this paper! It provides a nice way of complicating our easy assumptions about digital textuality.

On the one hand, there seems to be a distinction between *transcriptions* and *reproductions*, the latter uniquely dependent upon media technologies; on the other hand, the complex network of digital textualities seems to be blurring these boundaries by producing imagistic replications that are both aesthetic and symbolic. I've come across very similar issues in contemporary transcriptions (more like translations) of seventeenth-century shorthand, Pepys' diary being an obvious example. Media have a way of either eliding or repurposing any text, even at very basic (and seemingly unimportant) levels.

Jennifer said...

A strong paper with a smart argument. I paused at your (repeated) representation of digital reproductions as slavish. Could it be argued that transcribing and copying texts enslaved us all - readers and monks alike? Then, as I was composing a counter-question to your semiotics, I finally got the joke. Your entire argument is an enslaved digital (re)production - the text, images and paratext. Bravo.

jeff said...

This is a brave and intelligent call for digital tools--completely wonderful! Additionally this essay made me ponder, if time is truly the great enemy, then, editing must be its most loyal consort. No wonder, then, we need diplomats! Aesthetic gaps appear over time and NOT without editors.

Again, the constant need for more literary tools in the transcription toolbox goes without saying, and yes, even for the Internet, even with linear time, even always and forever.