The work of documentary editors and the capabilities of digital platforms are highlighted at this year’s AHA meeting in several sessions, including (but not limited to) the an entire track on Primary Sources and the History Profession in the Age of Text Search.
Modern digital editions no longer are reproductions of the book form, but incorporate high-resolution facsimiles (expensive in letterpress) and interactive features letting researchers perform analysis within the edition itself (impossible in letterpress). Simultaneously, the challenge of digital preservation, the rise of mobile-first researchers, and the rapidity of platform obsolescence have demonstrated the apparent superiority of the letterpress edition in terms of “shelf-life”.
I propose a session to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing digital editions and the people who work on them. Depending on the interest, this may be a meet-and-greet to connect digital edition personnel, a show-and-tell about neat visualizations, a gripe session about sustainability, a high-level discussion of theory, a combination of the four, or something totally unforeseen.