The Digital Locke Project tries to establish the texts contained by Locke’s manuscripts. The original spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization of the texts have been maintained. Additions and deletions are also included in the main text of the transcription. Obvious errors in the original text have been be marked, followed by a proposed correction, but this is clearly recognizable as an editorial suggestion. The resulting so called ‘diplomatic’ transcription will be useful for users trying to grasp the details and genesis of Locke’s texts. At the same the Digital Locke Project recognizes the need of many users for a clean and easily readable ‘normalized’ transcript version. In this version additions by Locke or his scribes are included but not marked as such, his deletions are excluded, but editorial corrections (which are rare in any case) are still. Special care has been taken to present the two versions synchronically. The normalized version can always be found on the left hand side of the screen, while the right hand side contains the diplomatic version. When the user is scrolling through the text in one version, clicking on the relevant page number within that version will prompt the appearance of the same passage in the other version on the opposite half of the screen.
The dual normalized/diplomatic presentation is only one example of how the electronic medium gives the user possibilities at manipulation of texts that tended to be enshrined as fixed and permanent in conventional paper editions. The flexibility of the new medium has lead to discussions about the role of the text-editor, which is often assumed to have changed from an interpreter who produces a single preferred version, to a scholar who facilitates access to different versions, without committing himself to a specific rendering. In the case of the Digital Locke Project this kind of relativistic diversity may seem even more poignant, given our aim of not only producing a normalized and a diplomatic online version, but also a printed version of the texts. It should be noted, however, that much of this ‘electronic relativism’ is connected with the question of single text editions versus simultaneous presentations of different versions or editions of the work. In the case of the Digital Locke Project there is not much room for debate on this point, since in most cases we have only one manuscript version of each text.
Each text is tagged (transcribed) only once, in a format that resembles the online diplomatic presentation of the text, i.e. with all text-critical remarks integrated in the main text. The normalized presentation is based on the diplomatic presentation minus all the deletions and the marking as such of additions and other text-critical remarks. The printed version in TeX will be an automatic conversion of the transcription used for the diplomatic edition, with the text-critical remarks not integrated in the main text but included in a separate apparatus keyed to the line numbers of the main text. Our transcriptions themselves are the result of textual criticism. We started this section with the remark that the original spelling and punctuation will be maintained. Yet this should not blind us to the fact that textual criticism remains very much a matter of interpretation. The precise wording of phrases that have been deleted, the difference between an ‘S’ and an ‘s’ or a dot and a comma often depend on editorial judgment, mostly guided by the larger context of the fragment in question. So, although we hope to make a contribution that substantially increases the options available to our online users, we feel at the same time that electronic editions have left the fundamental requirements of textual scholarship unchanged. For more detailed information see Markup Policy.