Recommendations of the Vettors of the CSE Guidelines for Electronic Editions

Charlottesville, Virginia
November 20, 1999

1. That in place of the current guidelines, the CSE should develop a three-tiered document.

The first tier should be a very brief (one- or two-page) document that states in the most durable, most general terms the absolutely necessary characteristics of scholarly editions. This document should be infrequently revised.

The second tier should consist of best practices within specific traditions of editing, and those practices should, in each of their particulars and examples, be coherent with the necessary characteristics.  This document could be revised more frequently, and should include checklists developed within these specific traditions.  It might be appropriate at this tier, also, to specify principles not applicable across traditions (for example, the principle that once published, the electronic edition should never be changed, or should changed only under certain circumstances, etc.).

The third tier would be a technical best practices manual, giving examples that are relevant today.  This document would, necessarily, be revised on a regular basis.  This document should include a kind of technical checklist (If the edition claims to be TEI conformant, does it in fact meet the requirements of a TEI-conformant edition?  If it is in SGML, does it parse according to a DTD?  If it is XML, is it well-formed? etc.).

2. As an appendix, the CSE should develop a bibliography that points to other resources, standards, and articles that provide useful background at any of these levels.

3. The CSE should develop these top-level necessary characteristics, and develop lower-level documents, in conjunction with the ADE and any other scholarly societies that represent significant editorial traditions (at a later stage in the process, in fact, one might want to consult with groups concerned with preservation, cataloging, publishers).  One reason that such a coordinated effort is to be desired is that these scholarly societies might want to have some impact on more demotic standards (such as the Ebook standard) that are now developing in the mass market.