The Digital Page Reader is an open source tool designed to represent textual genesis in a dynamic and intuitive manner. The Reader consists of 2 linked panes for each document page. The pane on the left contains a transcription of the page, incorporating, in the case of revised documents, a chronological listing of each set of revisions. The pane on the right contains an image of the page, with each point of revision highlighted. In linking the temporal aspect of a revision – the point in time at which it was made – and its spatial aspect – the point in space it occupies on the page – the Digital Page Reader comprises a temporal-spatial map of the genesis of the text, of the kind associated with Geographical Information Systems. The best way to familiarize oneself with the Reader is to view it and use it, but what follows is a brief account of its main features. Most are fully functional but some are currently under development (see below). When The Digital Page becomes publicly available, in the summer of 2015, a fuller description of the features of the Digital Page Reader will be included.
The transcription pane records the process of revision, using a different colour-coded letter to mark each distinct revision session. The focus is on narrating the revision process (first she did this; then she did that) rather than on providing verbal or symbolic equivalents of the physical appearance of the page (e.g., interlinear, marginal, overwritten, cancelled, <inserted>), which, with the availability of the page image, are redundant. One of two sliders at the top of the transcription pane allows the user to view the entire revision process – say, sessions A through F – at once, or to focus on any of its stages – say, session C or sessions B through E. This slider not only provides an intuitive way of comparing various stages of revision without the use of intrusive symbols and abbreviations; it also allows the user to re-enact the revision process dynamically, as variants appear and disappear with the movement of the slider. The second slider allows the user to view any stage of the revision process in 3 different formats: 1) the default Process format, indicating the revision process, as above; 2) the Product format, indicating the final result of the revision process for each session – that is, the text produced at the end of that session; and 3) the Reading Text format, a clean, emended and regularized version of the text produced at the end of each session. For unrevised texts, of course, only the Product and the Reading Text formats are relevant. A slightly revised version of the Digital Page Reader will be used for the catalogue raisonné of the Visual Art volume. Up to this point, development of the Reader has focused on “intraversional” variants, that is, variants within a particular text, rather than on “interversional” variants between texts, since the first of these present by far the more complex coding issues. The next phase of the Reader’s development will employ “revision point editing” (Bryant, 2002) to indicate “interversional” variants. It will enable the user to begin at any point in any version which varies from the equivalent point in one or more of the other versions, and to pull up a complete list of interversional variants at that point, without arbitrarily foregrounding any text as the “best” starting point.
The image pane contains the document image with revised areas marked off by polygons which appear when the cursor moves over the corresponding transcription in the transcription pane. It has a zoom feature. Currently being implemented is linkage from the opposite direction: from image to transcription. When the cursor moves over a polygon in the image pane, the corresponding transcription in the transcription pane will be highlighted. Currently, passing the cursor over the image page will cause the polygons to appear, but all in the same colour. Eventually the polygons will be colour-coded to correspond to the colour-coding of the sessions of the revisions which they mark off.