Dėl karantino į spalį buvo nukelta konferencija Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – 5, turėjusi vykti Rygoje, Nacionalinėje Latvijos bibliotekoje, kovo 17–20 dienomis. Joje su stendiniu pranešimu The new possibilities for philological research in the digital archive: the case of “The Voices of Spring” by Maironis dalyvavo tyrėja doktorantė Magdalena Slavinska.

The new possibilities for philological research in the digital archive: the case of “The Voices of Spring
by Magdalena Slavinska

It is widely understood that digital media may allow users of a digital archive to examine thoroughly its digitized objects and their data. Moreover, by connecting separate objects into hyperlink network it may also allow the reader to reflect upon the connections between the objects (witnesses). Those connections might be visualized to the reader in different ways: by hypertextual links or by side-by-side comparison on the screen. The making relations between the elements visible may be even more important in some type of archives, e. g. the genetic archive of a literary work shows different versions of the same text to be perceived by the user as a continuous process.

The aim of this paper is to present the first digital genetic archive in Lithuania – a digital scholarly edition of “The Voices of Spring” by Lithuanian poet Maironis (1862-1932). The 1st and the 5th authorial editions of “The Voices of Spring” are separated by thousands of textual variants, and the number of poems in the collection increased from 45 to 131. Development lasting four decades (since the first published verses in 1885 until 1927) demonstrates the efforts to adapt to the linguistic modernization which coincided with the period of Maironis’ creative activity.

One may ask, how such numerous differences between the versions of the poems might be clarified in an archive. On the one hand, the striking amount of different changes between the 1st and the 5th edition calls for step-by-step demonstration of continuous process of writing and editing. On the other hand, it also calls for a conceptualized presentation that would allow to summarize the genetic process. This scholarly edition aims to carry out a genetic reconstruction of Maironis’ poetry by presenting the facsimiles, the XML‐encoded versions and commentaries.

The user of the genetic archive encounters with two types of visualizing connections between the objects: the spatial and the hypertextual. The two objects connected spatially might be compared and examined visually on the screen. Hypertextual links attached to an isolated object signalize to the reader that there is another object to compare to, but the comparison between equally visible objects will not take place until the user makes another move to examine the signalized object. The archive offers two types of comparisons to reflect upon. The user might examine the identities and significant distinctions between different digital representations of the same witness, e. g. between the facsimile (image) and the xml file (text), and deepen his understanding of one particular witness. The archive also visualizes in diverse ways the genetic connections between the versions (different witnesses).

By collecting all the witnesses of the text creation, a genetic archive seeks to visualize to the reader the process of writing, i.e. to offer a convenient platform for viewing and analyzing the processes involved in the creation of the text. A temporal process is represented by means of a set of textual versions. For this aim it is equally important to allow the user, on the one hand, to deepen the information about each version taken separately from the linear or more complicated genetic sequence, and, on the other hand, to more thoroughly reflect on the transitions between the witnesses (authorial revisions of the poems).

In a genetic dossier one looks for the genetic relations between the variants. The identified genetic relations are further investigated and interpreted, and the structures of them are attempted to be represented in the archive. Finding the solution for the best visualization might be viewed as a two-way process. One attempts to comprehend the concept of genetic relation in the case of a particular archive. On the other hand, one must consider several possible graphical forms that would withstand the problem of conveying the process of changes in the text.

Highlighting the elements that differ in each version might serve as a point of departure for the genetic reconstruction. The sequence of those elements might form a certain logic, e. g. it might resemble the more general historical-linguistic process. However, the sequence of linguistic changes viewed separately from the texts may be treated as a process involved in the creation, but it cannot serve as a complete representation of the genesis. Linguistic changes might not exhaust all the elements in the text that provoked the revisions. Therefore it is useful to literally keep in sight both the text and those elements involved in the genesis that has been stated until now. In the digital scholarly edition of “The Voices of Spring” these functionalities are achieved through the Edition Visualization Technology (EVT) tool. The user reads and interprets the genetic archive partly by means of computational methods. Digital representations of the textual witnesses and the results of computational processing are displayed to be grasped together. The computer generated results of such functionalities as word concordances and visual comparison of different versions may augment the perceiving of the textual variation by the reader.

The archive seeks to provide a platform for scholarly research that could be developed in the future, when new sets of data and commentaries could be added. Visualization of the linguistic tendencies involved in the genetic process of “The Voices of Spring” can serve as a material for further investigation. E. g. syntactical changes made by Maironis may not only indicate improving poetry, but also signify the transition from foreign syntactic structures – a process fully documented through his five authorial editions.

Finally, a genetic archive, which concern is to collect all the indices of the author’s thought, may take flexible forms unfamiliar to the previous readers of „The Voices of Spring”. The archive also incorporates significant versions of the poems from periodicals and books which provide more details on the chronology of changes. Between two subsequent editions several poems were published together as a part of another book, and some of them were further changed before the publication in the new edition of „The Voices of Spring”. Therefore a distinct genetic trajectory might be demonstrated through each of the poems of the collection, although they were all published together in the final authorial edition in 1927.