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Last updated February 04, 2011 08:31, by eradan

Scriptorium Wiki


Scriptorium is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to write critical editions; it is especially aimed for ancient mathematical texts.

Textual criticism could be broadly defined as a scientific technique for editing a text. The fundamental goal of textual criticism is the edition of a text following very strict criteria of rigour, or reconstructing the text in a form as close as possible to a (lost) original. A critical edition is a complex object, or — better — a complex hermeneutics process in which the editor and the reader are involved; in other words, it should be clear that the editor is making a subjective evaluation of the textual tradition. An electronic-informatic system such as Scriptorium for the creation and utilization of a critical edition can help in making a clear evaluation as far as possible. Scriptorium buds from the Maurolico Project and the MauroTex initiative, gathering and improving that experiences.

What you can do with Scriptorium

Scriptorium provides these main characteristics:

  • Modularity and friendliness: Scriptorium provides a friendly and modular interface where the editor can use a different perspective depending on the particular task he decides to face (variants, citations, expuctiones...).
  • Recensio phase guidance: the main text and the collation should be performed in such a way that it is clearly possible to recover the editorial choices; it should be possible to change them at any moment in a simple way; the very same principle apply to the stemma and emendatio phases.
  • Drawing support: ancient mathematical texts requires innovative tools in order to support the editor in drawing integration and mark-up; Scriptorium offers a way to add and edit geometrical drawings to the text.
  • Ontology System: different texts could be described in different ways. Scriptorium aid this task in a modular way, using the Ontology system: one or more editors can decide to use, share or implement their own ontology to describe their particular texts; Scriptorium can be configured using a user-defined ontology so that the text is marked and described in the best way.
  • Stemma: many researchers want to control the way the stemma codicum is established and don’t want tools that build it using authomatic algorithms based on information theoretical distances. An independent approach is to have a tool that grants a complete control on the stemma codicum and open enough to allow everyone to “plug-in” his/her (semi-)automatic preferred algorithm.
  • Typesetting and Fine Tuning: at the end, the fine tuning phase permits to adjust every aesthetic aspect of the edition in order to make the resulting work clear and "usable", depending on the final media(s) used to publish the edition. In a modern vision, the main point is the correct formal representation of the information which constitutes the critical edition. That doesn’t mean that a fine or even excellent printing quality is not interesting, but that this problem have to be separated from the question of formalize the textual criticism data. Once a correct formal description of a critical edition has been established, it is easy to export it in the most suitable format.


Scriptorium is built and developed using open source tools and it's free software itself in order to provide the maximum interoperability and interaction between different platforms and different readers/users of the edition and to make it possible to everyone to add new features as well as enhance the existing ones.

Scriptorium uses the following technologies:

  • XML in order to store, describe, mark-up and serialize the information;
  • RDF/OWL to describe ontologies
  • Java 2 Runtime Enviroment;
  • Java Swing;
  • JavaDoc.
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