An Encomium on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I by George Etheridge — British Library Royal MS 16 C X

How to use the Electronic Edition


Ignoring for now the textual material that provides a background to the manuscript and focussing solely on the electronic edition, the basic presentation consists of a scanned facsimile of one folio of the MS on the left, and a text-based page on the right that can (at the user's choice) be the transcription, the edition or the translation. Using navigation aids above the MS facsimile, the user can choose to view any folio in the codex, either by selecting it from a drop-down menu or by entering the desired folio in a text box. There is also the ability to go to the "next" or "previous" folio, where such exists. Similarly, using navigation aids above the text-based page, the user can select from transcription, edition and translation, and can (for the edition) also select how the edition is to be rendered in terms of reflow :: "none", "normal" and "full". With "none" selected, line-turns in the edition are in 1:1 correspondence with those in the MS; with "normal", line-turns in the MS are indicated by solidi ("|") in the text; and with "full", all indications of line-turns in the MS are suppressed.

With the MS facsimile and transcription displayed, the user can move the mouse cursor over a word in either the facsimile or the transcription; as this is done, the word under the cursor will change colour to red, and this colour change will take place both in the text and  in the image. This functionality is symmetric : it matters not whether the cursor is in the text pane or the image pane — the corresponding word in both text and image will turn red.

When the cursor is in the text pane, additional functionality is provided : the user can click on any word in the text, and a full lexicographical analysis will be displayed in the footnote area. For example, the opening word in f. 1r is "Τῇ", and clicking on this word will cause the text "Τῇ: Article, fem dat sg. form of ὁ (fem: ἡ; neut: τό).  Lemma: ἡ; see [Archimedes] [TLG/LSJ] [Perseus]" to be displayed in the footnote area. The lexicographical analysis, while complete, cannot possibly say all that there is to be said concerning the word in question, and so we also link from the lexicographical analysis to three very important online lexica : The Archimedes Project, at Harvard; the Perseus Project, at Tufts; and the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon hosted by Thesaurus Linguae Graecae at the University of California, Irvine.

If, instead of the transcription, the edition is selected in the text pane, then even more functionality is exposed. The simultaneous highlighting of words in the text and image functions as before, each word is still linked to a lexicographical analysis and so on, but in addition a number of scholarly apparatus  are now offered. Some words in the edition, for example, will be picked out in green; these indicate a textual emendation that took place during the preparation of the edition, and hovering the mouse cursor over any one of these will pop up a "speech bubble" which contains details of the emendation and the reason(s) lying underlying it. For example, hovering over "ἐμφανεστατῃ" in f. 1r (Edition) will display the note "corr.: ἐμφανέστατῃ cod." in a speech bubble pointing to the word in question (the transcription contains "ἐμφανέστατῃ" at this point, of course, since it faithfully reflects the exact orthography of the author). The early folia contain only further apparataus criticus, but when we reach f. 4r (Edition), an example of apparatus fontium can be seen; this takes the form of the superscripted number [1] in square brackets following the italicised text "μῆλον ὑπερφυὲς μεγέθει", and if this number is clicked, the text "[1] Plutarch: Life of Artxerxes IV:5" (indicating the work to which the author is referring) appears in the footnote area. Clicking on the raised [1] a second time will dismiss the footnote text. This functionality is also present in the translation with an identical effect.

Turning now to the translation, we also have a linkage between translation and facsimile image, but in this case the linkage is not (and cannot be) on a word-by-word basis. Instead, the translation has been carefully prepared so as to echo the macro structure of the MS text, and the linkage between translation and image is therefore on the basis of a short stretch of text (a phrase, clause, sentence, whatever). Hovering over any word in either text or image will cause an entire stretch of text to be highlit in red, and the corresponding stretch of text in the opposite pane will also be highlit. Furthermore, in addition to the apparatus fontium already mentioned, the translation also contains instances of apparatus scholia, the first of which may be seen in f. 9r (Translation). Here, following the text "and subdued the impregnable city of Boulogne and triumphantly overcame the ranks of many enemies." we see a superscripted [a]. Clicking on the [a] will disclose a fairly long note in the footnote area commencing "[a] Henry launched a major invasion of France in alliance with the Emperor Charles V in summer 1544", and this note provides a historical background to the MS text at that point.

It should be noted that whenever a word in the text has been clicked, and the corresponding lexicographical analysis displayed in the footnote area, the analysis ends with (as has already been stated) links to three external lexica. If any of these links is followed, it does not  open a new browser window or new browser tab, nor does it overwrite the text and the lexicographical note; instead, it displays the relevant information in the space normally occupied by the MS facsimile. This has many benefits : it leaves the text and the lexicographical analysis visible at the same time as the contents of the external link, and the reader can (if he/she so choose) alternate between the off-site content and the MS facsimile simply by clicking on the lexicon link. It is not necessary to switch windows or tabs, nor even to use the browser's "forward" and "backward" buttons : the text remains in place, the lexicographical analysis likewise, and the user can view either MS facsimile or external text as he/she chooses.

We conclude by summarising some slightly unusual features that occur in the textual material that provides a background to the edition, and in particular the treatment of footnotes. Footnotes in these texts are indicated by superscripted numbers in square brackets ([1], [2], [3], etc.) and clicking on one of these will cause the selected footnote to scroll to as near to the top of the screen as is logically possible (footnotes near the bottom of the page may not be scrollable to the very top); in addition, the footnote of interest will be highlit using a subtly contrasting background colour (#FFFF80). Once the footnote has been read, a return can be made to the footnote reference in the main text by clicking on the footnote. For deeply technical reasons it is not currently possible to follow an link from a footnote to an external resource, then return to the footnote using the browser "Back" button and finally return to the footnote callout by clicking on the footnote; a further attempt will be made to add this functionality during subsequent work on the underlying code.

Philip Taylor