Agree to disagree: Modelling co-existing scholarly perspectives on literary text

Elli Bleeker*, Bram Buitendijk, Ronald Haentjens Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This essay addresses two open challenge in the domain of digital scholarly editing: (1) formally defining the meaning of markup, and (2) allowing the reuse and exchange of textual data through a distributed editorial workflow that allows the editing of texts from multiple, diverging yet co-existing perspectives. We argue that successfully addressing these issues would promote the distribution and exchange of scholarly knowledge, on a technical as well as a theoretical level. The essay introduces ongoing work on a new data model for text called 'TAG' (Text-as-Graph) and its reference implementation 'Alexandria'. The essay outlines how TAG, based on a hypergraph for text, can improve the modeling of complex literary texts, and how Alexandria supports the exchange of markup files in a way that sustains scholarly discourse. We discuss three components of TAG: first, the markup technology stack allows for the formal definition of the meaning of markup ('markup semantics'); secondly, users can add multiple layers of markup that each represent an alternative perspective on text; and finally the editorial workflow is set up in a git-like distributed version management system. As a result, the TAG model provides for the synthesis of dispersed scholarly practices and the advancement of academic discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-854
Number of pages11
JournalDigital Scholarship in the Humanities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019


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