Defining Scholarly Editions, pt.1: Critical vs. enriched
Within „Defining Scholarly Editions“, I want to open a new section in our blog which offers the opportunity to discuss the theoretical definition and the different understanding of scholarly editions and related questions such as “the role of the editor”, “the tasks of a commentary,” and many more. I hope that we can start an open and fruitful discussion where everyone can publish her|his thoughts on scholarly editing. Comments, suggestions and critiques are very welcome!
The edition’s key feature
As I am not yet ready to share my still a bit unordered thoughts on the definition of scholarly editions with the rest of the world, I will start this section not immediately with a completely new definition of scholarly editions, but rather comment on an excerpt from Patrick Sahle’s  definition, which states:
A scholarly edition is an information resource which offers a critical representation of (normally) historical documents or texts. 
Thinking about the essential characteristic of a scholarly edition I decided to replace “critical” with “scholarly enriched,” which makes the definition look like this:
A scholarly edition is an information resource which offers a scholarly enriched representation of primarily historical documents or texts. 
Why not critical?
I am not sure if Patrick Sahle makes use of the term “critical” as it is traditionally used in the universe of scholarly editing; namely, in the sense of “text-critical,” or if he uses it in the true sense of the word . The latter would be problematic anyway, as the term “critical” in the context of scholarly editing – at least in my opinion – through its close connection to the editing method of textual criticism is kind of ”occupied” and could therefore be misleading .
To me Patrick’s definition implies – even if he doesn’t intend it for sure – that (a) to be termed a scholarly edition, it has to have critical representation of the text and that (b) the “critical representation” – as what is really offered by a scholarly edition – is its key feature.
About (a) we don’t have to discuss, as we all know that there are scholarly editions that treat the text not in a critical way (and this maybe for good reasons) but offer a very rich annotation of a different kind and therefor deserve to be termed “scholarly”. More interesting is (b), the question of the key feature of a scholarly edition.
Scholarly editing – what is it all about?
I think the decisive characteristic of a scholarly edition is not the critical representation (however it was intended by Patrick, “critical” as a definition does not meet the point for me anyway), but that it offers something more compared to the original source, and this added value serves to bridge different kind of distances  and gaps of understanding between the edited material and today’s recipient. This enrichment of the original source has a communicative function and can either be an analysis of the text’s constitution, or the editor’s annotation (e.g. related to the content), and it can be even both.
However, the “added value for the sake of understanding” to me is the key feature, and rather than describe it with the term “critical,” I would propose the term “scholarly enriched” instead.
 Patrick Sahle is the scholar from the field of (digital) scholarly editing with his work I am most familiar with and for who’s research I have great respect; therefore I will probably refer very often to him now and in my future blog posts.
 Patrick Sahle in collaboration with Georg Vogeler and the members of the IDE; Version 1.1, June 2014 [http://www.i-d-e.de/aktivitaeten/reviews/criteria-for-reviewing-scholarly-digital-editions-version-1-1#sthash.769gHFtd.LshXsHuo.dpuf [30.6.2014|19:50].
 If a native speaker has a better solution for “scholarly enriched” please step forward! Two times “scholarly” in one sentence doesn’t sound good. I even thought about “research-specific enriched”, “research-related enriched”. Any suggestions?
 “critical, adj.”. OED Online. June 2014. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/44592?redirectedFrom=critical [30.6.2014|19:50]. – the second definition would be the appropriate one.
 What do the natives say about that?
 The most common distance is the historical one, but there are even others; e.g. cultural or linguistic.