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Towards a first digital edition of the oldest surviving manuscript of St Augustine's De civitate Dei

Franzini, Greta Hayley; (2019) Towards a first digital edition of the oldest surviving manuscript of St Augustine's De civitate Dei. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis describes the creation of a pilot digital edition of MS XXVIII(26), the oldest surviving manuscript of Saint Augustine’s (354-430 AD) monumental De civitate Dei (The City of God). Also known as Manuscript V[eronensis], MS XXVIII(26) dates back to the early fifth century AD and is housed in the chapter library of Verona, Italy. As contemporary to Saint Augustine himself, it is a particularly treasured object of study. This thesis reassesses extant research about this manuscript, collecting information about its disputed provenance, historical context, materiality, tradition, and conservation. In doing so, it investigates how the manuscript can be best reproduced as a digital edition by way of two surveys designed to better understand how digital editions are respectively being created and used. The survey devoted to the study of how digital editions are being built has become a publicly available digital resource in collaboration with the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The resource, known as the Catalogue of Digital Editions, aggregates and catalogues a large number of digital editions in an effort to delineate the field’s status quo and spawn new quantitative and qualitative research. The community survey devoted to the study of how digital editions are being used is one of the very few as well as the largest in the field yet. The over 200 responses received give detailed information regarding the expectations of digital editions provided by the Digital Humanities community and point to many areas for further improvement. A comparative analysis of the results from the two surveys suggests that while creators are aware of and adhere to standards of creation, much work remains to be done to address the needs of a diverse range of users. With this information, digital editors in the Digital Humanities can better shape future projects and thus contribute to the production of ever-useful digital cultural resources. This information is also guiding the creation of a pilot digital edition of MS XXVIII(26), which remains to be user-tested but serves as the first digital reproduction of the oldest surviving manuscript of Saint Augustine’s De civitate Dei. The research described in this thesis has led to the formulation of recommendations for those embarking on the creation of a digital edition. Specifically, creators are advised to get access to the original documents and to high resolution images, to provide transcriptions of the text in multiple formats so as to enable further research and data reuse in a variety of academic contexts, to provide detailed documentation of the editorial and technological components of the project, to make as much data available under open licences and, finally, to conduct, and report on, user studies of the digital edition.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Towards a first digital edition of the oldest surviving manuscript of St Augustine's De civitate Dei
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085734
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