Canonical reference and sustainability of digital editions

Hello everyone!

I am Roman from Graz. After finishing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Graz, I completed a PhD in Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) at Trinity College Dublin. I am very excited to be back in Graz to work as a DiXiT fellow at the Centre for Information Modelling – Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ZIM-ACDH). DiXiT is such an amazing network of interesting people and projects and I am really looking forward to my year as DiXiTEER! May it be happy and productive!

Roman Bleier and Graz University

Roman in front of the main building of Graz University

My interest in Digital Humanities started at the place where I am working now. In 2009/10 I did a Certificate in Information Modelling at the ZIM-ACDH as part of my MA in Religious Studies. In 2011, I moved to Dublin where I worked as an intern on a digital scholarly editing project developed at the Royal Irish Academy, the Saint Patrick’s Confessio Hypertext Stack. While working on this project, a call for applications was announced for a new PhD programme in Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH) which was fully funded under the Irish Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI). I was one of the about 50 PhD students that started with this programme in September 2011. The topic of my PhD research was the electronic editing of the manuscript witnesses of Saint Patrick’s writings with TEI. I worked also on a number of other digital editing projects including the Versioning Machine and the Letters of 1916 at Maynooth University. During my work on the Letters of 1916 project, I had the pleasure to work together with two other DiXiT fellows, Richard and Linda. I also participated in a couple of DiXiT events such as the eXist-DB and XQuery summer school before joining the network.

During my DiXiT fellowship at the Centre for Information Modelling, I will investigate the relationship between canonical reference systems and electronic reference systems for persistent referencing in digital scholarly editions. A special focus of my research will be the citing of interactive content in digital editions. I will develop a proposal

GAMS, digital asset management system at the university of graz

The GAMS, the certified digital asset management system at the Centre for Information Modeling, University of Graz

for a generic referencing system for digital editions and implement it, as proof of concept, into the certified trusted digital repository GAMS, a FEDORA-Commons-Infrastructure developed and maintained at the ZIM-ACDH. I will use my digital edition of St Patrick’s epistles to showcase this implementation. The TEI documents which are at the core of this new digital edition have been created as part of my PhD research at Trinity College Dublin.

Just a few words about the texts I am editing. St Patrick, the famous Irish saint, was a fifth-century missionary, a bishop and a writer of letters. Two of his epistles survived until today, the Confessio and the Epistola ad milites Corotici. These two fifth-century texts surveyed in seven medieval manuscript witnesses which were copied centuries after Patrick’s time in different regions of Europe and exhibit substantial differences. The study of the manuscript witnesses is crucial as they are the main sources for the life of the historical Patrick and they give important insights into the beginnings of Christianity in Ireland. My new edition uses a different editing approach than the existing editions of the texts, a documentary approach. It will provide new ways of reading these important documents with a focus on the analysis of the individual versions, their text structure and scribal interventions.


I am working at the Centre for Information Modelling in the Humanities - Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ZIM-ACDH) at the University of Graz. Prior to joining the team at ZIM-ACDH, I completed a PhD in the Digital Arts and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin and I worked on projects such as The Saint Patrick’s Confessio Hyptertext Stack, at the Royal Irish Academy, Versioning Machine and the Letters of 1916, at Maynooth University.

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