Revolution or Remediation? A Study of Electronic Scholarly Editions on the Web

Lina Karlsson, Linda Malm


The study examines in what form and to what extent media specific value-adding features are present in a selection of scholarly editions of literary works on the Web, concentrating on hypertextuality, interactivity and hypermediality. Besides form and extent, the study investigates whether or not the construction of the editions corresponds to theories and guidelines about how electronic scholarly editions should be designed to generate an added value from a scholarly point of view. The empirical approach is mainly qualitative and the selection consists of 31 editions. The results show that a majority of the editions does not incorporate all of the value-adding aspects. Mainly, the ability to use hyperlinks to bring larger amount of material together, and the use of links to show inter- and intratextual relations, have been realized. Only a minority of the editions exploit the possibilities of interactivity, especially the ability to read and submit user comments. Few editions integrate forms of media that a printed edition can not handle, i.e. sound and moving pictures. The conclusion of the study is that web editions seem to reproduce features of the printed media and do not fulfil the potential of the Web to any larger extent.


electronic publishing; World Wide Web (WWW); remediation; scholarly editions; editorial theory; versioning; literary classics; hypertext; interactivity; hypermedia

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