About eLaborate




Earlier versions of eLaborate

The eLaborate online work environment enables textual scholars and documentary editors to work on their edition on their own or in a group in a safe work environment through the internet. They can upload scans of the manuscript or printed book they want to edit, transcribe the text using a zooming and panning tool. They can select and add metadata fields and draw up a list of annotation categories they want to use. They can publish their edition online at short notice and open it up for the world.

Work on the first version of eLaborate (then still called e-laborate) started in 2003. The background of the project was the need for more digital texts for computational analysis. The philosophy was that an easy online tool could be of help in speeding up the digitization process by giving scholars and volunteers access to scans of specific texts related to their own (research) interests.

The step towards finetuning eLaborate as a tool for the creation of a digital edition was a relatively small one. After the release of version 1 in 2005, work started on a second version which was released in 2009. This version led to the publication of four digital editions, Bartholomeus Engelsman, Van den proprieteyten der dinghen (2009), Lodewijk van Deyssel, Menschen en bergen (2009), Carolingian Scholarship: glosses on Martianus Capella (2010), and Walewein ende Keye (2011).

Version 3 of eLaborate was released in the Fall of 2011 and was built on a new IT architecture because the wishes and needs of users of eLaborate 1 and eLaborate 2  could not be accomodated in the technological framework that was chosen as the base at the start of the first project in 2003. Version 3 was developed in the Alfalab project and also made available througt the Textlab of Alfalab.

About eLaborate 4

Still, one of our main wishes had not been fulfilled, which was the possibility to publish  a finished edition without several months of necessary work by our programmers. This was the amount of work needed for the three published editions in eLaborate 2. So in our work on the next version of eLaborate, the fourth, our main aims were to create for the users (editors)

  • a new version with everything needed for the creation of a basic scholarly edition
  • the option to preview the edition in its published form to help finalize the edition
  • one button to press to publish the edition as it is
  • a new interface of the work environment which is closer to the published version
  • a new interface of the editions to be published in the new version of the software

This version, eLaborate 4, was released on 31 March 2014.

Not every wish of our current users could be accomodated, and not all kinds of editions are suited for eLaborate 4 (more about this on the page For users). With this new version, the work on further development will not stop. Before Huygens ING will add new functionality, however, it is key that textual scholars and documentary editors work on a thorough scholarly analysis of the ways in which this new medium for editions may influence our most basic thoughts about what an edition is. Scholars may need to change their editorial practices on some points to optimally benefit from the power of the new medium. There might be fundamental differences between a digital edition and an edition published in the print medium scholars have been used to for hundreds of years. Before Huygens ING will plan new options in the online software, it will have to be sure these are not mainly based in thinking from the “print” perspective and not taking into account the new digital environment and the new possibilities this presents.

New functionality already accepted for development can be found on the tab Use and plans on the page Planning of eLaborate updates.




Contact: helpdesk-elaborate@huygens.knaw.nl