Archives Online offers hosting in cooperation with e-editiones

In cooperation with e-editiones, Archives Online is building an infrastructure for digital scholarly editions based on TEI Publisher and IIIF. It is offering comprehensive, long-term support and maintenance to keep digital editions from going dark. The offer is available to all interested editions world-wide.

The offer will be complemented by a portal, which allows users to search across all editions participating in the service. The portal application has been developed by e-editiones, Archives Online and the Staatsarchiv Zürich, and will go online as soon as the first editions are ready for publication. All code will be made available as free software. The distributed search feature was based on earlier work financed by the DIPF Berlin (Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education), and the Karl Barth-Gesamtausgabe supported the server set up and automation.

The goal is to provide an easy, long-term hosting option for editions based on minimal, well-documented requirements: ultimately any edition which complies with the recommended practices can benefit from the hosting offer and participate in the portal service.

If you are interested in having an edition hosted, please contact Archives Online. The service will not be for free: any serious long-term hosting has to cover certain maintenance costs if it wants to follow more than an "install and forget" policy. But we’re confident that our solution minimizes the costs while providing the best possible service, in particular if you’re looking towards long-term availability.

Technical Background

e-editiones central goal is to provide editions with a sustainable publishing solution which ensures long term availability with minimal maintenance. With the redesign of TEI Publisher 6 and 7, we prepared the necessary technical foundations: all editions generated by TEI Publisher now share a common API.

With the new version 7 it became possible to:

  1. host multiple editions created with different versions of the libraries side by side,
  2. simplify the update procedure to make sure editions benefit from new developments while keeping maintenance costs very low,
  3. search across local and distributed editions (hosted on a different server) by leveraging the shared API

Also, despite looking different on the surface, the building blocks for any TEI Publisher-based edition are the same, which allows server administrators to create automated setup and maintenance routines.

Outlook

Among many other things, TEI Publisher 8 will further improve the architecture by introducing more generic concepts for persistent URLs, navigation and addressing documents, allowing editions to use an addressing scheme which better reflects the logic of the edition rather than technical requirements.

A direct integration with git will allow editions to update published data without having to touch the command line.

The upcoming version will also include index configuration and API endpoints for local and distributed portal search, so generated editions can automatically participate in a multi-edition portal like sources-online.

With these low-level technical questions solved, e-editiones is now also putting a strong focus on describing the practical recommendations for the encoding of texts. The idea is to create a set of best practice guidelines for corpora with a pledge that any text following these guidelines will look good out of the box when rendered via TEI Publisher and will be ready for incorporation into the search portal. Initial work is carried out now and we expect a community meetup soon to discuss on a broader forum.

This way we aim to: flatten the learning curve for many projects starting with TEI encoding, reduce the amount of customization work required for an edition, allowing users to publish materials with minimal effort, and assure that the project data is ready to be integrated into larger scale search portals. Needless to say, recommendations we have in mind are intended only with an eye towards interoperability and do not limit in any way customization capacities already embodied by the TEI Publisher approach.