Category Archives: Allgemeines

Diese unspezifische Kategorie beinhaltet Beiträge, die sich den übrigen Kategorien nicht zuordnen lassen, sondern deren Fokus auf der Edition als Ganzem liegt oder die den Autor Georg Greflinger, seine Werke, die Überlieferungssituation oder die Forschungsliteratur zum Gegenstand haben.

Another Copy of the 1678 Danish Ethica Complementoria and Trancheerbok in Bergen!

While looking for something entirely different (Norwegian Ex Libris), I discovered another copy of the 1678 first edition of the Danish translation of the Ethica Complementoria and Food Carving Book (Tranchierbuch/Trancheerbok)!

The Bergen Public Library has a copy in its special collections, kept in “The Vault” with the shelfmark h 194. Judging by the number of pages (322), the book seems complete. What is interesting about this copy, apart from that it is only the 4th known (the others are in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, the University of Oslo Library and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Library, Trondheim) so far, is its provenience: The catalogue metadata read:

Har tilhørt Niels Tønsberg

I don’t yet know who this person was or when the Ethica became part of the Bergen Public Library’s collection. I will have to find out during a visit, which is tentatively planned for summer 2024.

A request to digitise the Bergen copy has been declined due to a lack of capacity, and there is already a digitised Ethica: the Trondheim copy. I will investigate if I can get a few pictures of the title and owner’s mark for my bibliography.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 9: Slowing Down

Day 9 of my summer research leave

After yesterday’s proofreading marathon, I felt pretty depleted today. On top of that, I got a migraine which stopped things for a while. So I decided to do a slow day instead of working through the remaining unchecked and unsorted files in my temporary transcriptions folder. I meandered from here to there, leafing through the materials in my binders and physical folders, tidying the Zotero project library, updating information about the project online, etc.

I was thinking about in which way I can best create a post-factum data management plan for the Ethica project, including the digital scholarly edition and all the other related research. Something where I could give myself a guiding line for the future and make informed decisions about what data I keep where, which files are active and how to version control them, which platforms I use for which materials, and where data might be out of sight, like the XML file in the DTAQ environment, which I cannot change immediately, but have to use their ticket system and email. And what to do with the things that are not digital.

I suddenly felt the urge to take a picture of the spread-out documents on the table in my office: Because they are data, too! Some of them are printouts which I created for easier readability, so they could safely be thrown away without any loss, but many have handwritten notes on them, contain sketches of textual relations, corrections of all sorts and kinds or do not have a digital counterpart: they only exist physically.

An example of paper-bound data: printed and hand-annotated lists of errors and their corrections and Latin phrases from the Ethica Complementoria print from 1643.

I’m not a fan of keeping a lot of paper around, but in this case, I had to admit that I was not ready to throw them all out. Sensibly re-digitising them will be a bit of work and might not be worthwhile unless I work on something concretely for which I will need the paper-bound data. So back they go into their binders and onto the shelves. But into the data management plan, too!

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 8: Proofreading

Day 8 of my summer research leave

After yesterday’s distress, I decided to shift my attention from cleaning up the remaining files with transcriptions to finishing the proof-reading of edition princeps of the Ethica Complementoria, printed in Nürnberg in 1643, and held at the Bavarian State Library in Bamberg. I made it; I finished proofreading and now wait for the results.

Screenshot of the DTAQ proofreading modus with a page from the 1643 Ethica and its transcription

The 1643 print, or A1 as I baptized it in my reconstruction of the print history and genealogy, was the second Ethica text for me to transcribe. I started working on this transcription as early as 2013 when I received the digitised copy in PDF, for which I paid what felt like a small fortune. I strongly believed in creating my transcription in XML, working in the markup as I went, and using the full TEI P5 tag set without customisation. This was because I had not yet found a repository where I felt I could put my digital edition and make it accessible to digital humanities colleagues and the community of early modern German studies, which was still very far from being digitally savvy at that time. I had previously experimented with TextGrid as a virtual research environment and as a repository, but the user interface made it hard for me to commit fully. So, in the end, I gave up and used MS Word for my transcriptions: it was more convenient for my eyes and allowed a more intuitive form of applying markup to the text.

As time went by, I contacted the German Text Archive, and they agreed to host my edited texts and integrate them into their corpus of German texts. The condition was that I had to use the DTA base model, a customized version of the XML TEI P5 standard they had developed meticulously. Now, the problem was to convert the transcription of the text and the markup from a DOCX file into XML and map it onto the DTA base model. I felt that time was not on my side. During these years, I was severely ill and could not use a keyboard and mouse for writing, but I had to use a microphone and dictation software. Using these to convert the files, making the necessary adjustments and writing and tweaking scripts was out of the question. Instead, I contracted a fellow digital humanist who specialized in creating transcriptions using double-keying and converting them into XML. We agreed to process not just the transcriptions of the 1643 Ethica but also A2 (between 1643-1646) and B6 (1660), which I had transcribed in the meantime. I felt fortunate that someone else could help me with an insurmountable task at the time. When I received the files, I didn’t check them as properly as I should have. And about that, I learned only much later. In 2017, I was back full-time working on my doctoral dissertation, and the Ethica project lay dormant for a while.

In 2018, I delivered the XML files of A1, A2, and B6 to the DTA, and quite a few issues became apparent; the markup didn’t quite fit the DTA base model, and there were some other oddities, which I thought I could address quickly, but instead, my life got turned upside down, and other things were more important. It took me until early fall 2019 to return to the texts and try to fix some of the issues, but the attempt was half-hearted. I had just started a new job after being on an extended sick leave, and this job had nothing to do with edition philology, early modern book history, literature, or digital humanities. It wasn’t even a research position, but administrative, and there was no room for using work time on a project like this. So it lay dormant again.

In 2020 I changed jobs again, this time to a permanent and academic position. But life happened again; not only did Covid-19 massively shift my professional and private focus, but other family-related developments took priority. It wasn’t until after the summer of 2021 that I would take another look at the edition that was waiting for me to make the final checks and fixes on the DTAQ servers.

Today, another two years later, I have completed proofreading the version of my transcription and markup used for the DTAQ. It wasn’t the ‘final’ many times proofread version I had as a DOCX file with handwritten annotations. I filed 85 tickets with requests for changes: some mistakes I made transcribing, some markup issues, and some HTML presentation issues, which probably stem from my XML file not entirely conforming to the DTA base model.

So, ten years roughly from receiving the pdf of the digital copy of the 1643 print to finally checking the transcription, encoding and presentation on the DTA repository didn’t feel that long. But they were too long. In the meantime, someone else published their study edition with commentary based on the editio princeps. Something I will now have to refer to and make it very clear and evident how far my digital edition differs from their print/pdf edition. If not for the ethical reason of academic honesty and transparency, then to protect my work from being perceived as a copyright issue. Editions are a bit of a grey zone regarding copyright or German Urheberrecht. I do not believe this will be considered the case for my edition and the study edition, but I must mentally prepare for whatever will come. Fingers crossed.

A fool points a wooden spoon at a couple that is making out on a chair.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 6: Transcriptions

Day 6 of my summer research leave

Today, I’m mid-way on my research leave: I have until Friday mid-day to finish this project overview and data management sprint and see that the transcription and HTR-training mini-project starts well.

Admittedly, I felt a bit hesitant to start the day: it’s still mainly going through old files, checking their contents, comparing them to the files on the GitHub repositories and deciding whether or not to keep them and, if so: where to move them and what to do with them next. Most of the morning was spent bringing order to the chaos of miscellaneous files in a documents folder. I moved most of them either into the private admin repository or the Ethica and the Greflingeriana repos. I even found some old teaching materials from the master seminar I taught at my alma mater, Freie Universität Berlin, in the summer of 2011; I archived them on Zenodo for whatever it is good for.

Another thing I did was click through the overview of posts on this blog. There were several drafts, some as old as 2015. Two had no content yet, only a title, and I decided to delete them: farewell! I published the other two (one about crowd-funding and sourcing the edition, the other about the Nordischer Mercurius, Greflinger’s newspaper project), adding a short note at the beginning about when they were created and what their status is. This is mainly for myself to have a reference: have I already written something about a particular aspect or sub-project? Now I can refer to it more officially; perhaps they even find an audience!

Lastly, I investigated the dreaded transcriptions folders. The one on the Ethica repository only contained XML files of transcriptions but without any documentation. On the other hand, the folders on my GoogleDrive only contained DOCX or other proprietary text files. If I remember correctly, when I decided to move some contents of the Ethica project into a GitHub repository, I didn’t want my MS Words files and other stuff there that could not be version controlled by Git. But it creates an undesirable situation where I don’t know what is where and finding the actual ‘latest version’ of a transcription will be a costly search, time-wise. And: if I ever want to share a file with a collaborator, it will be much easier to do so via the repository than having some files on a private GoogleDrive. However, the sheer amount of transcriptions and versions of files felt paralysing. So I started with the Löfflerey-Kunst instead of the Ethica.

The Löfflerey-Kunst (The Art of Spooning, i.e. making out) is an odd little book. It appears a short while after the first prints of the Ethica circulated, in 1648, right at the time of the negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia. I have reconstructed the genealogical relations between this text and the Ethica in my book and have pointed out that it is unlikely that the Löfflerey-Kunst in itself has anything to do with the alleged compiler-author Georg Greflinger but that the content lends itself to a combination with the Ethica and thematically related materials. The Löfflerey-Kunst can be best described as a satirical adaption of the Ethica: both in regards to the initiation of romantic relations between young men and women of status and in regards to the political and religious tensions of the times, where especially the Catholics were the targets of insults and jokes in protestant regions.

I have prepared an edition of the Löfflerey-Kunst, based on the printer syntheses B2 and C1, that is, where the Löfflerey-Kunst was printed together with the Ethica Complementoria and texts such as the Bettelstab der Liebe, Alamodische Damensprichwörter and a selection of poems from Seladons Weltliche Lieder. This edition will be published with the Deutsches Textarchiv, but I cannot say when it will happen. My investigation of the many files containing transcriptions revealed that I do have a complete transcription of C1 as a DOCX file – done from the digital copy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich and collated with the original print on-site in Munich in December 2016. But I do not know whether I have collated this file with the XML transcription. I also have a part of a transcription of B2, circle half of the text, from when I had my research stay at the Herzog-August library in Wolfenbüttel in 2013. Since it’s incomplete and I have no plans of travelling to Wolfenbüttel anywhen soon, I have ordered a digital reproduction of the book to run it through Transkribus and complete the transcription. More importantly, I would like to get a full transcription of what I have called L1, the most likely first edition of the Löfflerey. The Berlin State Library uniquely holds it and has a digital copy, so I don’t have to travel there for the transcription job!

A fool points a wooden spoon at a couple that is making out on a chair.

Detail of the title illustration of the 1648 Löfflerey-Kunst print. Berlin State Library, Yz 1551.

To round off my day: data organisation post-factum takes a lot of time and is mentally draining. And it becomes evident that good data management would have prevented much of the frustration and saved me time to finish parts of the edition. 

Crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing – Möglichkeiten & Grenzen für ein DH-Projekt

Originally written and saved as a draft on 2015/09/14 at 6:15 pm

This post is a thought-in-progress.

Ich bin ein Patreon. Und ich unterstütze Projekte auf Kickstarter: solche, die ihre Finanzierungsziele erreichen aber auch solche, die es (im ersten Anlauf) nicht schaffen. Ich spende regelmäßig für die Wikipedia. Ab und an redigiere ich Artikel für sie. Ich abonniere Youtube-Kanäle. Ich bin Mitglied von ideellen Vereinen und Verbänden. Ich beteilige mich an crowd-sourcing Projekten.

Ich unterstütze Initiativen, Projekte, Dienste, die ich gut finde und für richtig und wichtig halte. Manche davon sind für mich reine Unterhaltung, manche politisch, andere wissenschaftlich bzw. wissens-vermittelnd. Ich erfreue mich an dem, was andere kreativ umsetzen, ich verwende es weiter, ich baue es aus und um, ich verbreite es, kritisiere es, versuche, es besser zu machen.

Ich trage mich seit einiger Zeit mit dem Gedanken, die Greflinger-Edition umzustellen und zu öffnen sowohl für ein crowd-funding (also: das Einwerben von finanziellen Mitteln für die Arbeit an der Edition, u.a. den Erwerb von Digitalisaten, Bibliotheksreisen, Werkverträge für Korrektoren etc.) als auch für ein crowd-sourcing (also: die kollaborative, kumulative Arbeit an der Edition: Erfassen, Transkribieren, Beschreiben, Taggen, Kommentieren der Primärtexte; Qualitätssicherung, Korrektur). Nicht nur, weil die Arbeit an einer Edition eine zeit- und arbeitsintensive Tätigkeit ist, die sich nebenher nur unter großen Anstrengungen realisieren lässt, sondern auch, weil ich längst nicht auf allen Gebieten, die für ein Projekt wie dieses einschlägig sind und in allen Technologien, die Anwendung finden, Expertin genug bin, um kompetent und zuverlässig arbeiten zu können.

An der Greflinger-Edition arbeite ich seit April 2009. Alleine, an Nachmittagen und Wochenenden oder während des Urlaubs, auf Zug- und Flugreisen. Bisher sind ein gutes Dutzend Texte erfasst in XML-TEI-Kodierung, aber noch weit davon entfernt, publiziert werden zu können. Weil sie nicht fertig sind, also: nicht zitierfähig.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 5: Sources

Day 5 of my summer research leave

On Day 5 of my summer research leave, I continued working on organising folders and files and getting a general overview of what I have on my local drive, what is already on the GitHub repository for the Ethica project and what should go into related repositories. I managed to move some files around and normalise filenames, but then I got stuck on a particular file: This, too, was very old. I last touched the file in late August 2013 – ten years ago. It’s a file I called “Quellen” (sources). It contains several phrases, sentences, poems, or concrete references from the Ethica to other texts and – where possible – their verification with contemporary sources or more modern scholarly editions of referenced texts. It’s an MS Word file; the formatting was horrific, and the document really hard to read. I converted the DOCX file into a plain text format like Markdown, using Pandoc. I hadn’t planned on working on the file’s content, only trying to tackle the layout and readability, but I got stuck on the references. Many contained links, and clicking on the first one already revealed a problem I had hoped not to have: link rot. So I spent the rest of the morning checking all links and references, which turned into checking many sources, adding them to the list, and ordering some older prints from the library to check references of not yet digitized material.

I really love this kind of detective work: trying to find the source of an odd-sounding phrase or a cryptic reference, verifying citations, and revealing the literary, theological, and philosophical foundation of this book on good manners and easy conversation. We can also see the frame of reference for a contemporary: what would they have known to use the book? Were they familiar with the works of Plato, the classic authors like Sallust, Horace and Cicero, early medieval philosophers like Boethius, the church fathers, and more contemporary writers like John Owen? Probably. Studying the intertextual references in the Ethica can help us re-create the target audience, perhaps even the model reader/user of the guidebook. 

The overview of sources and references is not complete by far. My work many years ago was discontinued after chapter 2, most likely because I decided to prioritise another part of the scholarly edition. The original edition plan did not include a commentary, so this is ‘side work’, which I thought would be nice but not mandatory. But now I’m intrigued again! I want to dig deeper into it and learn more about the intertextual references and what they might tell us about the Ethica and its appeal. I have uploaded the revised document to the GitHub repository, so I can add things on the way – and have a public reference in case I will not finish this side-work and someone else wants to pick it up instead.

After a much-needed iced coffee break in the sun with my colleagues from the Digital Scholarship Center at the University of Oslo Library, I returned to my office to find one of the youngest prints of the Ethica Complementoria waiting for me on my desk! This second edition of the Danish translation was printed in Copenhagen in 1708. The book, together with the first Danish edition from 1678, was a gift from the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen to the newly founded University of Oslo in 1811. Together with 45.000 books from the Royal Library’s collection, it made the rootstock of the Univesity Library – and the National Library of Norway – today. An incredible feeling for a researcher interested in the Ethica: to have two rare editions “in-house”. I was unaware of this when I moved to Norway 11 years ago, so I guess we found each other at the right time and place.

A detail photograph of the 1708 edition of the Ethica Complementoria. The book is half opened, and a printed double page is visible. On the right side, the second chapter begins and the page is framed with ornaments.
Detail from the 1708 print of the Ethica Complementoria, UBO UHS Sikring 97

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 4: Digressions & Contemplations

Day 4 of my summer research leave

Today has been a day of digressions and contemplations. The goal was to go through all the remaining files on my local drive and see which ones contain information that needs to be kept and isn’t stored on the GitHub repository for the Ethica Complementoria project yet. I reviewed almost all files, identified them, checked their content, modified the filename to be more descriptive and standardised, and added the date of creation/last modification, which sent me down memory lane. One file in particular, a synopsis I made of all Ethica prints, hit especially hard: it was last modified precisely on this day, eight years ago! Such a long time ago – I remember that I was working on the edition, recording variants between the different prints and sorting out their relationship. I was so sure I would be able to finish the manuscript of the edition and send it to a publisher in 2016. I did not. I haven’t done it yet, and I am less and less sure whether I will ever “finish” this project as I had initially intended. Don’t get me wrong: I have published a big chunk of my research on the Ethica already in a monograph in 2017. What was planned as an article for editio. Internationales Jahrbuch für Editionswissenschaft turned into a book. It gives a detailed overview of all surviving copies we know of, the relation between the different editions, their chronology, extensions, and revisions. It also discusses the authorship question and argues for a more conservative approach when attributing the Ethica to Georg Greflinger: he was likely not the author but could have acted as a later redactor. I also have three complete transcriptions of prints: the editio princeps from 1643, the edition 1645, and the youngest Ethica print from 1728. Transcription of the critical 1660 print is about 70% done. However, I have never had the time to do the final touches. Both prints from 1643 and 1645 are already uploaded to the German Text Archive but have not been “released” by me because there is some manual fixing of the encoding, which takes forever. I can still aim to do as much as possible next week and perhaps get the 1643 edition publishable. We’ll see.

Aside from all the feelings, I had a couple of productive digressions today. First was a search for who hides behind “Ex libris bibl. erot. Krenneri”. In some Greflinger prints, catalogues recorded provenience, i.e. who owned the book before it made it into the library’s collection. It can be interesting to find out how certain books ended up where they did, both geographically and collection-wise. But also who they might have been made for or who in the past found them worth buying, keeping and collecting. I straightforward Google search didn’t bring many concrete results, but I was led to the notorious bibliography of erotic literature by Hayn and Gotendorf from the early C20th. In the digitized tomes, the ExLibris popped up several times, with the remark “München” (Munich). Aha! An indicator. I modified my search to include the last name “Krenner” (the nominative form of the latinised “Krenneri”) and München and found a newspaper article from 2007. Christina Hoffmann writes about “forbidden books” in the Bavarian State Library in Munich, and the name “Franz Krenner”, date and his occupation is revealed: Turns out, the man was a fiscal officer in the late 18th, early 19th century in Munich and had an extraordinary collection of erotica which were bought by the library right after his death and kept locked away from public access. You can read about the kinky official on Wikipedia.

The other digression(s) mainly were software related. I had some files in an odd format, and I could not check their contents without the proper software. Which, of course, was proprietary and for purchase, but I managed to get a test version to open the files with. From a distance of time, I could now see my search for a comfortable tool to help me visualize the print history, genealogy and stemma of the Ethica. By looking at the time stamps, the filenames and the file formats, I could see a journey of testing out, discarding, re-visiting, and moving around from one tool to another. I made the published visualization of the stemma in Scapple, so I guess at that point in time, I had found something that was good enough for the job and worked well for me. But times have changed, and I no longer want to use this type of software. I cannot export an interactive version of my stemma from Scapple, only static versions in .png or .pdf. But that’s not helpful for edits and further work. I turned to my social network on Mastodon and asked for input, and I got a nice tip from Till Grallert for a file format converter from the OPML format, which Scapple can export, to SVG, which is much more common and easier to import and export between drawing tools. I will try it out tomorrow and hopefully end the week with a nice stack of files in more durable, sustainable, and standard formats so I can still use them eight years from now!

Enjoy this visualisation of the Ethica and Tranchierbuch, and Löfflereikunst prints on a timeline, made with Zotero, tomorrow, also eight years ago 😅 !

Timeline of prints. Ethica-prints are colored yellow, while prints of the Tranchierbuch are red and prints of the Löfflereikunst are orange. Highest density of prints around 1650.

Timeline of prints. Ethica prints are coloured yellow, while prints of the Tranchierbuch are red, and prints of the Löfflereikunst are orange. Observe the density of prints around 1650.

The image shows a visualisation of a useful filename structure for a scan of the title page of a rare book. It has four parts, divided by underscores. The first part is the library information using its standard abbreviation, the second part is the shelfmark, the third page indicates the page number or part of the document, and the fourth part contains additional information in a short form.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 3: Filenames and Co-workers

Day 3 of my summer research leave


After a bit of a hiccup yesterday, I’m back on track. It’s day 3 of my research leave, and I still haven’t gotten any of the “big tasks” started. If there is anything to be learned from previous iterations of this and other projects, it’s that without proper data management, the big tasks will never be finished. All of the available time in a side project like this will eventually be eaten by trying to understand where I left off last time, what needs to be done and where the files are. So the first step – in a way, the first “big task” – is to get an overview of what I have, where I left off, and what needs to be done to tackle the milestones.

A refreshing insight this morning was that I had already weeded out many superfluous files and manuscript versions of the book on the print and transmission history of the Ethica Complementoria. The most crucial documents are neatly stored in a public GitHub repository: the final version of the manuscript as published on the epub-server at the Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel. The transcriptions of several prints in XML. Preliminary collation results and the code I used to create them. An ok README file describing the status quo and plans. One of these plans was to find a secure place for the documents which cannot be stored publicly, like scans I purchased for the publication and other admin stuff. I will put them in a private repository so I have access remotely.

While preparing the files for transfer into their new home, I witnessed a common problem of practical data management: Creating meaningful yet short and machine-friendly filenames! I used to teach data organisation and documentation in my previous job, and since then, I made it a daily practice only to use informative, machine-friendly filenames. For scans and digital photos of archival materials, manuscripts, or old books, I find it helpful to embed information about the source in the filename, e.g. which library holds this book? What is its shelf mark or reference number? What part of the book is the scan of? Is there any additional information relevant to see at first glance? With this in mind, and adhering to a few principles of good data management, like shallow directory structures, short names for files and folders, and no use of any special characters apart from underscore _ and hyphen – and ASCII letters and numbers. I made a little infographic about filenames for scans of archival materials and shared it with the researchers at the Dept. of Archaeology, Conservation, and History and my colleagues at the library. I will adopt this method now for the Ethica project and similar ones and rename all files accordingly. And add this info to the README so I might have a chance of remembering what I did and why next time!

The image shows a visualisation of a useful filename structure for a scan of the title page of a rare book. It has four parts, divided by underscores. The first part is the library information using its standard abbreviation, the second part is the shelfmark, the third page indicates the page number or part of the document, and the fourth part contains additional information in a short form.

Infographic depicting a filename structure for scans of archival materials.


The Ethica project is a single-person project for most of the time. I recently got funding for a research assistant to help me transcribe and prepare the bilingual digital scholarly edition of the Danish print of the Ethica from 1678. The assistant will mainly work on automatic text recognition, using Transkribus and building on the HTR model NorFraktur created by the National Library of Norway. NorFraktur is a multilingual model trained on printed Norwegian, Danish, and German texts from the early modern period. It performs quite well, and I hope to increase the performance slightly.

More interesting than the work, although, is collaborating with another researcher. Lots of the motivation behind proper data management and documentation stems from the need to work together on something, to share files and folders and workflows. The Ethica project is old, conceived in 2009, and has grown wildly since. So, for the following weeks to be a smooth and fruitful collaboration, I must create a usable data management plan (DMP) and set up a shared and version-controlled repository. And that’s why I had to go through all the “old stuff” – to know where things are, what is useful in this stage and which mistakes not to make again!

I will draft a DMP using DMPtool again – if I get lucky, I can do it today and publish it on this site, too. Update: the DMP is public and published here:

A screenshot of the project repository on GitHub showing Jupyter Notebook as the main type of code.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 2: Setups and Fails

Day 2 of my summer research leave

The plan for today was to gather all documents which have something to do with the edition, then list an overview of the files and their contents and create a README and a data management plan to continue the Ethica project so I don’t have to redo all these steps again next time.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to work from home today and take care of something else, so this didn’t happen. The little time I had to work on the project was used up by setting up my private laptop for the tasks. In 2019, I transitioned from working locally and occasionally using GoogleDrive or similar cloud-based storage systems to working with Git and GitHub for most of my projects. This helps keep files and stuff synchronised even when I have to work from home – or, in the worst case, have to access my files using the GitHub platform.

However, it turns out that I haven’t been using my private computer for a while, and so it needed the dreaded updates to run Git. This led to a cascade of updates, and when I finally had set up everything I needed, I went online and checked the contents of a project repository which I hadn’t cloned to my local environment yet.

A screenshot of the project repository on GitHub showing Jupyter Notebook as the main type of code.

On GitHub, every repository has an information block displaying the most used programming language. What surprised me was that this repo had “Jupyter Notebook” highlighted. What on earth did I use a Jupyter Notebook for when creating XML transcriptions of early modern books? A quick look revealed that the notebook was created during a workshop at the Huygens Institute in The Netherlands on February 12, 2019. The topic was collating textual witnesses using the CollateX package for Python. Right! I remembered that I had started doing some tests with the transcriptions of the prefaces of several editions of the Ethica. I read the code and installed CollateX on my private computer.

By now, you should have an idea of where this is going. I wasn’t able to. I followed the instructions and updated Java (of course, every time!), but I only ever got this error message: Error: Unable to access jarfile collatex-tools-1.7.1.jar. I spent an hour following suggestions on fixing the problem, but I could not get it to work.

Having CollateX running is not vital to the project at hand; it would probably have been a major distraction. But this stuff is so frustrating! When I teach the basics of coding, I also talk about how to help oneself when stuck and to build resilience and a higher frustration threshold. But we’re only humans; sometimes, even a relatively high threshold isn’t enough. I give up for today. Java issues are a problem for future me. I need some calming tasks to finish my short workday today, so I will spend the remaining 45 minutes tidying my Zotero project library instead.

Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition – Redux. Pt. 1: Recovering files

Day 1 of my summer research leave

I will work on the Ethica Complementoria Digital Scholarly Edition project in the next two weeks. A project started in April 2009, with many – and lengthy – interruptions.

To get started and sorted out, I first set out to gain an overview of where the project files are. When the project was conceived, I knew nothing about project or data management. I think I am now on my ninth computer since 2009, and on at least seven of them, I had instances of the project folders and files. In addition, I have most of the files on my private GoogleDrive. I have also moved from Windows to Macintosh operating systems and have used Mac consistently since 2010. I went through an uncounted number of software, programs, and tools to create files with, mainly MS Word, but also OpenOffice/LibreOffice files, plain text files, data in spreadsheets (Excel), presentations in PowerPoint and GoogleSlides or more obscure things like Evernote; piles and piles of pdfs of source texts and secondary literature, other image files either downloaded from an online source or taken with a digital camera or later smartphone; I have transcriptions in XML format; I made some drawings that seem to be saved as a .scap file, and I have no idea what to open them with (yet) or what I used to create them!

I have collected all folders and files of interest in a temporary folder on my Desktop and will use the day tomorrow to go through them systematically. The aim is to gather all documents which have something to do with the edition: transcriptions, digitised prints/digital photos or scans of books/parts of books, transcription criteria and rules for encoding, manuscripts and drafts of articles connected to the edition, admin documents like invoices and orders, variants/text comparisons, and enter all bibliographic items into Zotero. I will then list an overview of the files and their contents and create a README and a data management plan to continue the Ethica project so I don’t have to redo all these steps again next time.

Accompanying the project, I plan to write a blog post each day about what I have accomplished and publish as much of the material on this blog and the sub-project page, archive it on Zenodo (presentation slides, manuscripts of talks) or move it into the active project repository on GitHub


Heimlich, still und leise… Zur Digitalisierung von Greflingeriana im Besitz der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz

Ok, so heimlich, still und leise ging das Ganze nun doch nicht vonstatten – es hatte u.a. bereits im Dezember einen Tweet gegeben der darauf aufmerksam machte, dass die Stabi ihre seltenen Drucke und Unika aus dem 17. Jahrhundert im Rahmen einer DFG-Initiative nun digitalisiert und open access zur Verfügung gestellt habe. Auf den Tweet habe ich spontan reagiert, allerdings ging es mir dabei um die Einblattdrucke (aka “Flugblätter”), die ich anno dazumal in meiner Funktion als Praktikantin in der Abteilung Handschriften, Referat für Einblattmaterialien, bearbeitet hatte und die viel zu lange ein trübes Dasein im Magazin gefristet hatten.

Heute nun habe ich die digitalen Sammlungen der Staatsbibliothek nach (unikalen) Greflingeriana durchforstet (keyword search “Greflinger” über das Interface der Digitalisierten Sammlungen, die Drucke die Conrad Greflinger im frühen 18. Jahrhundert verlegt hat, habe ich aussortiert) und tatsächlich ein paar neue Digitalisate ausgemacht:


  • 10 Drucke, allesamt Trauergedichte, aus den Jahren 1650 und 1651 – und einem aus dem Jahr 1657.
  • 2 Drucke von 1649, und ein weiterer von 1651 die sich aus gegebenem Anlass mit der Hinrichtung des englischen Königs Charles I. befassen
  • 1 Druck eines Gedichtes aus dem Werkkomplex zum Dreißigjährigen Krieg, der Status Germaniae von 1643
  • 1 Druck mit zwei bis dahin ungedruckten weltlichen Liedern Greflingers aus dem Jahr 1650

Periodisches Schrifttum

  • Der erste Jahrgang des Nordischen Mercurius, der zwei Mal wöchentlich erscheinenden Zeitung die Greflinger ab 1664 in Hamburg verlegte


  • Sowie die Cochleatio Novissima, oder Löfflereikunst, eine Parodie auf zeitgenössische Anleitungsliteratur und Komplimentierlehren, die weiterhin Greflinger zugeschrieben wird (wiewohl ich das in meiner bibliographischen Untersuchung zur Ethica Complementoria und Löfflereikunst zu entkräften versucht habe)

Alles in allem ein ganz gute Ausbeute, gerade im Hinblick auf die Gelegenheitsdichtung, die leider all zu oft den Kürzeren zieht. Der beste “Fang” ist jedoch das Digitalisat der 1648er Löfflereikunst, der in sehr guter Scanqualität nun vorliegt und als PDF oder einzelne Bilddateien heruntergeladen werden kann. Damit lässt sich der Text dieser Ausgabe (ja: ein Unikat!) endlich zeitsparend mit Transkribus grob texterkennen und danach sorgfältig von hand kollationieren um sodann in die Ethica Complmentoria-Ausgabe, die ich für das Deutsche Textarchiv vorbereite, integriert zu werden. Ganz hervorragend!

Als Anmerkung sei noch gesagt: Alle neuen Digitalisate der Stabi haben ein IIIF-Manifest (das man auch herunterladen kann) und die Option im Mirador-Viewer der Staatsbibliothek angezeigt zu werden. Das ist besonders da hilfreich, wo man verschiedene Digitalisate optisch miteinander vergleichen will.

Die Ethica Complementoria auf GitHub

Ich kann endlich vermelden, dass der Umzug des Ethica Complementoria-Projektes von diversen Festplatten, Speichermedien und Cloud-Diensten nun endlich ein neues Zuhause gefunden hat! Auf der Entwicklerplattform GitHub. com werde ich alle weitere Arbeit durchführen, für diesen Zweck habe ich eine eigene “Organisation” erstellt, die Greflinger-DSE (steht für Georg Greflinger Digital Scholarly Edition). Dort findet sich das Repositorium zur Ethica Complementoria, mit Transkriptionen und Materialien sowohl zur Überlieferungs- und Druckgeschichte als auch zu diesem Blog hier. Der Plan ist, in Zukunft auch alle Blogartikel zunächst in Markdown im Repo zu erstellen und dann auf dieses Blog hier zu matchen.

Man kann dem Projekt auf GitHub “folgen” (z.B. in dem man einen “Star” vergibt) oder sich am Projekt beteiligen, in dem man entweder “Issues” erstellt (z.B. bei Fragen oder Kommentaren) oder so genannte “Pull Requests” macht (z.B. wenn man eine Änderung an einer Datei vorgenommen hat). Ich erhoffe mir in Zukunft, die Arbeit an der Edition und allem Darumherum durch GitHub erleichtern zu können: Kollaboration jedweden Ausmaßes sollte sich einfach und ohne unnötige Hürden angehen lassen und Änderungen an Dateien können immer und von jedem problemlos vorgeschlagen werden. Dazu kommt, dass es auch mir die Arbeit erleichtert, da ich von wo aus auch immer Zugriff auf mein Material habe.

Ein Problem, das ich noch nicht gelöst habe, ist, wie ich mit den Daten umgehe, die die Öffentlichkeit entweder nichts angehen (z.B. Rechnungen für Digitalisate, Transkriptionsaufträge oder Korrespondenzen mit Institutionen) oder die ich nicht publizieren darf, wie z.B. einige Digitalisate, die ich nur zur privaten Nutzung erhalten habe. Falls es hierzu Vorschläge gibt: Bitte gerne!

Im nächsten Blogpost, den ich hoffentlich in Bälde schreiben werde, geht es dann ausführlicher um die Publikation der ersten vollständigen Ausgaben der Ethica im Deutschen Textarchiv!

Das Blog “Greflinger- Digitale Edition” im norwegischen Verbundkatalog

Ja, ich gebe es zu. Ich google mich regelmäßig selbst – und ich suche nach meinem Namen im Verbundkatalog der norwegischen Fach-, Universitäts- und Nationalbibliotheken (und ab und an im KVK). Erstens, um zu sehen, ob meine Publikationen dort gelistet sind, d.h. ob die Zeitschriften (und Anthologien), in denen ich publiziere, überhaupt in dem Land, in dem ich meine Forschungsergebnisse produziert habe, zugänglich sind. Zweitens, weil es eine gute Möglichkeit darstellt, Zitationen meiner Texte in anderen Publikationen nachzuweisen: Da immer mehr Zeitschriften- und Buchinhalte in maschinenlesbarer Form vorliegen und daher durchsuchbar sind, lassen sich Referenzen und Zitate leicht ausfindig machen, gerade auch solche die weder bei GoogleScholar, noch bei Orcid, ResearchGate oder wo auch immer geführt werden. (Ich vermute, das hat vorallem damit zu tun, dass es sich um geisteswissenschaftliche Publikationen handelt, die auf den genannten Plattformen notorisch schlecht indexiert sind.)

Was ich nun neulich entdeckt habe, ist, dass der norwegische Verbundkatalog neben einigen Aufsätzen und meinen drei Buchpublikationen auch alle meine Blogbeiträge des Greflinger – Digitale Edition Weblogs auflistet. Mit Metadaten und dem Hinweis auf die online, open access Zugänglichkeit. Wer hätte das gedacht! Das gibt diesem kleinen Blog hier ungemein viel mehr ‘Visibility’ als es sonst hätte – obwohl selbst gute Blogposts aktiv promoted und als akademische Plattform wo nicht etabliert, so doch weithin bekannt ist.

Was das für die Zukunft heißt: Ich werde mich bemühen, regelmäßiger Beiträge für dieses Weblog zu schreiben. Und ich werde mitunter Beiträge in englischer oder norwegischer Sprache verfassen, da meine Leserschaft nicht (mehr) nur auf den deutschsprachigen Raum beschränkt ist.

Das nächste Update wird sich vermutlich den sog. ‘Leberreimen‘ widmen, einer Form frühneuzeitlicher Limericks die bei Tisch rundum aufgesagt worden sind und die in späteren Ausgaben der Ethica Complementoria als Anhang enthalten sind. Stay tuned!

Ethica Complementoria – Bibliographie & Stemma veröffentlicht!

Zu Beginn dieses Jahres hat die Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel meine umfangreiche, deskriptive Bibliographie aller überlieferten Ausgaben der Ethica Complementoria von der Mitte des 17. bis zum ersten Drittel des 18. Jahrhunderts publiziert. Und zwar als Onlinepublikation, im Open Access. Damit konnte die Übersicht der Ausgaben in den Personalbibliographien des Barock von Gerhard Dünnhaupt um eine Reihe neu identifizierter Ausgaben ergänzt und einige nicht verifizierte Ausgaben endgültig ausgeschieden werden.

Alles in allem habe ich 32 Ausgaben der Ethica in Bibliotheken im deutschsprachigen Raum sowie im europäischen Ausland und in Nordamerika nachgewiesen und – in den meisten Fällen – auch vor Ort im Original eingesehen und bibliographisch-druckkundlich beschrieben. Von vielen der Ausgaben gibt es mittlerweile auch digitale Faksimiles, meist frei verfügbar über die Onlinekataloge der besitzenden Bibliotheken. Im (auch maschinenlesbaren) Volltext war die Ethica bisher nicht zugänglich, es werden aber vier überlieferungsgeschichtlich zentrale Ausgaben – die Erstausgabe von 1643, eine erste Bearbeitung vor 1647, eine Erweiterung unter der Regie von Johann Naumann aus dem Jahr 1660 sowie die Werksynthese mit dem Tranchierbuch und den Tisch-  und Leberreimen unter Herausgeberschaft Georg Greflingers aus dem Jahr 1665 – in Kürze im Deutschen Textarchiv unter meiner Federführung erscheinen. Eine Transkription der Ausgabe von 1648 beim Universitätsdrucker Petrus Lucius in Rinteln ist geplant.

Zusätzlich zu einer Übersicht über die Überlieferung der Ausgaben habe ich ein Stemma – einen “Stammbaum” – der Ethica erstellt und dabei herausgefunden, dass es sechs Überlieferungsgruppen gibt, die sich durch den Umfang und die Tendenz ihrer z.T. umfangreichen Bearbeitungen und Erweiterungen von einander unterscheiden.

Stemma der Ethica Complementoria (c) Annika Rockenberger

Dazu zählt auch die Übersetzung der Ethica ins Dänische im Jahr 1678. Ihre digitale Edition – zusammen mit der deutschsprachigen Vorlage von 1674 aus Kopenhagen – ist ebenfalls in Vorbereitung und soll im Rahmen der Digitalen Bibliothek nordischer Texte und Quellen der Norwegischen Nationalbibliothek – – im Laufe des nächsten Jahres erscheinen.

Bereits kurz nach der Publikation der Ethica-Bibliographie hat mir der Sammler und Bibliophile Uwe Frenzel Mitteilung über einige weitere, bisher nur in Privatbesitz befindliche und in den Katalogen nicht nachgewiesene Ausgaben gemacht. Es handelt sich um solche Ausgaben, die zusammen mit dem Tranchierbuch gedruckt worden sind. Darüber hinaus habe ich zwei weitere Ausgaben der Ethica, diesmal in Werksynthese mit dem Kunst- und Wunderbuch des Balthasar Schnurr (1676 und 1690), ermitteln können. Diese neuen Funde werde ich ausführlich beschreiben und baldmöglichst in die Bibliographie der Ethica Complementoria-Drucke integrieren.

Kommentare und Ergänzungen zur Bibliographie und zum Stemma nehme ich gerne per Email an arockenberger [at] gmail [dot] com entgegen!

Auf den Spuren der Ethica… Diesmal: Schloß Wilhelmsburg in Schmalkalden

Seit ich 2011 begonnen habe, mich mit der Druck- und Überlieferungsgeschichte der Ethica Complementoria, die manchmal auch Complementierbüchlein genannt wird, zu beschäftigen, war ich viel auf Spurensuche. Zunächst einmal ‘nur‘ auf dem Papier, nämlich in Bibliographien und alten gedruckten Katalogen und Bücherverzeichnissen zu Drucken des 17. Jahrhunderts. Die Suche habe ich dann in den verschiedenen Online-Katalogen deutscher und vor allem mittel- und nordeuropäischer Bibliotheken fortgesetzt und spätestens mit meinem Aufenthalt an der Herzog-August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel im Sommer 2013 begonnen, systematisch alle katalogisierten Drucke der Ethica auch im Original zu prüfen, das heißt, sie ausheben zu lassen um sie dann äußerlich zu beschreiben, zu vermessen und zu zählen und bei den meisten Ausgaben auch den Text auszugsweise oder vollständig abzuschreiben. Denn: viele der Ethica-Drucke haben ein außergewöhnlich kleines Format und sind darüber hinaus häufig stark abgenutzt und können deshalb nicht digitalisiert werden. Man weiß also gar nicht, was genau man vor sich hat, wenn man das Original nicht gesehen hat. Der Erhaltungszustand ist zu schlecht und die Büchlein zu fragil. In einigen Bibliotheken habe ich die Sondergenehmigung erhalten, die von der normalen Benutzung ausgeschlossenen Exemplare zur bibliographischen Beschreibung berühren und öffnen zu dürfen.

Seither habe ich vielen deutschen (und norwegischen) Bibliotheken einen Besuch abgestattet und in den Lesesälen mittlerweile gut zwei Dutzend Exemplare von Complementierbüchlein in den Händen gehalten und beschrieben, und von sechs Ausgaben auch den Text vollständig erfasst.

Nach und nach habe ich meine Strategie zum Auffinden bisher unbekannter Ethica-Drucke verfeinert: weg von den großen thematischen und Epochensammlungen hin zu zeitgenössischen Privatsammlungen, die vor allem in deutschen und schwedischen Schlössern (die jetzt natürlich fast alle Museen sind) aufbewahrt werden.

Diesen Oktober habe ich meiner alten Heimat im Thüringer Land einen Besuch abgestattet und war nach vielen Jahren wieder einmal in dem gut erhaltenen und als Museum geführten Schloß Wilhelmsburg in Schmalkalden. Die aktuelle, thematische Ausstellung zum Schmalkaldischen Bund hatte fast alle spätabendlichen Besucher in den unteren Teil des Schlosses gelockt, sodaß die oberen Etagen und Räumlichkeiten der Hauptausstellung – die nämlich das Schlossleben und die materielle Geschichte der Schlossherren der Wilhelmsburg in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit zeigen – ganz leer waren und mir somit alle Zeit blieb, mich ganz auf die Schlossatmosphäre und die einzelnen Exponate (vor allem Gebrauchsgegenstände) einzulassen. Ganz besonders interessiert hatten mich die Festsäle, das Geschirr und Besteck, die Möbel, die Kamine, die Wandverkleidungen, die Bewirtung und Hofhaltung im allgemeinen. Denn dies ist die materielle Umgebung für alle der im Complementierbüchlein beschriebenen Kommunikationssituationen: worauf beim Tanzen zu achten sei, wie man bei Tische sitzt, isst, trinkt, worüber man redet. Wie man die Kleidung trägt, sich aufputzt, begrüßt und verabschiedet. Welche Themen für den Small Talk geeignet sind und worüber man mit den Damen des Hauses besser nicht plaudert, will man sich nicht lächerlich machen.

Ganz angeregt von meiner Erfahrung, habe ich mich beim Verlassen der Museumsräume noch einmal bei den Museumsangestellten bedankt und mich erkundigt, ob es denn auch eine Schlossbibliothek gebe – und siehe da! Als Privatbibliothek und Archiv des Museums Schloss Wilhelmsburg verfügt diese über gut 10.000 Bände, zum Teil aus der Frühen Neuzeit. Ich habe daraufhin eine schriftliche Anfrage an die Leiterin des Archivs, Frau Dittmar, gestellt und mich erkundigt, ob sich in den Beständen womöglich eine Ausgabe der Ethica Complementoria befindet. Immerhin wäre es denkbar, dass ein solcher gesellschaftsrelevanter Gebrauchstext auch in der alten Schlossbibliothek vorhanden war. – Eine Ethica befindet sich nach Auskunft der Archivleiterin jedoch nicht unter den Beständen (ich hatte es vermutet, aber Nachfragen lohnt sich ja meist). Allerdings – und das ganz zu meiner Überraschung – besitzt die Schlossbibliothek eine Ausgabe der in der Frühen Neuzeit populären Præcepta Aulica des Erasmus von Rotterdam, noch dazu in einer zweisprachigen (Deutsch und Latein) Ausgabe, gedruckt in Lübeck 1643. Das ist in so fern spannend, als dass die Præcepta eine direkte Vorlage der Ethica sind (dazu bald mehr…). Meine Vermutung also, dass sich in einer solchen zeitgenössischen Privatsammlung Ethicas verbergen könnten, ist gar nicht so abwegig und bestärkt mich in meiner Absicht, die Spurensuche “vor Ort” fortzusetzen. Demnächst zum Beispiel im schwedischen Norrköping, wo sich unter den Bänden der Finspångsammlung, die 1913 aus dem Privatbesitz des Schlosses Finspång in die Stadtbibliothek Norrköping übergegangen ist, eine bisher unbekannte Ausgabe der Ethica Complementoria von 1689 findet!

Mein Dank für die Unterstützung meiner Recherchen und die Beantwortung meiner Anfragen geht an die Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter des Museums Schloss Wilhelmsburg in Schmalkalden und ganz besonders an die Leiterin des Archivs, Frau Petra Dittmar. Einen Besuch sind Stadt, Schloss und Region allemal wert!