Anyone with access to a networked computer and some knowledge of Latin can publish texts on the Internet, in the sense of making a text publicly available, but almost all Latin texts currently online lack a critical apparatus, the hallmark of a reliable, scholarly edition. Those that do have a critical apparatus lack the backing of a scholarly publisher and the legitimation that comes from review by one’s peers.
Although editorial practices differ among scholars working on classical, medieval, and humanist texts, our user studies have demonstrated that there is general agreement that a viable digital format specifically for critical editions and commentaries of Latin texts, combined with a legitimate forum in which to publish them, would advance the field of Latin studies.
Accordingly, the mission of the Library of Digital Latin Texts is to provide standards, practices, and policies for creating, publishing, and working with born-digital critical editions of Latin texts from all eras.
Editions in the LDLT will be encoded in Extensible Markup Language (XML) according to the standards of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Since the learned societies affiliated with this project—the Society for Classical Studies, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Renaissance Society of America—set the standards for professional scholarship, their existing committees and boards for research and publications will review proposals for LDLT editions. Their concern will be the quality not only of the textual scholarship, but also of the semantic markup. Semantic markup of texts is just as much a scholarly activity as collating manuscripts or writing commentaries.
Editions that meet the requirements of both traditional and digital scholarship will be published under the imprimatur of the SCS, MAA, or the RSA, depending on the era of the text. They will be version-controlled and openly available for use and reuse.
Users of LDLT will have three options for working with texts on the DLL's site. The LDLT Reading Room will feature a dynamic view of the text and critical apparatus. The LDLT Reading Room will have the ability to hide or show the critical apparatus and other features of the edition. Users who want to use morphological analysis tools and dictionaries can open an LDLT text in the DLL's Sandbox, a customized version of the Perseids SoSOL collaborative editing environment. Finally, we're using Chris Weaver's Improvise visualization application to develop sophisticated information visualizations for LDLT editions. Those who want to use these information visualization and analysis tools will be able to download our desktop application and a copy of the LDLT edition.