The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature
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ETCSL: editing protocols

On this page, some detailed information is presented on the various editing protocols that have been adopted in the preparation of this corpus.

Work stages

For each composition of the corpus, the stages of the operating procedure are as follows:

  1. collect together edition(s), copies, reviews, discussions, and other information taken from the bibliographical database
  2. create draft electronic file of the composite text, or adapt existing text-file
  3. sub-edit text-file for hyphenation, standardised spelling; partially tag
  4. prepare translation; partially tag; proofread Sumerian composite text and translation
  5. SGML tagging of Sumerian composite text using Author/Editor; validate; proofread
  6. SGML tagging of translation; validate; proofread
  7. update SGML bibliography with items from the database
  8. put SGML files onto the Web

Additions and variants

Additions to a text are defined as words, phrases or lines which occur in one source only, or a minority of sources. These are indicated in text and translation, accompanied by a note such as '1 ms. adds the line: ...'. Whole added lines are numbered with letters (e.g. 90A following line 90).

Variants are classified as substantive if they yield a different translation from the privileged composite text. These too are indicated in text and translation, with the word, phrase or line(s) from which they vary also marked, accompanied by a note such as '2 mss. have instead: ...'. .

Line numbering

For electronic purposes it is necessary to have a single sequence of line numbers from beginning to end of a text. These number the lines of a composite text, not of any individual exemplars (even in passages where the text rests on one exemplar only). Lines attested only in post-OB sources have been omitted. In a few cases, slight revision of the numeration of hitherto standard editions has been necessary.

However, segments of the composite text of a composition separated by breaks of indeterminate length have been labelled as such (e.g. Segment A, Segment B) and lines renumbered from 1 at the beginning of each segment (e.g. B1-65, C1-14).


In the transliterated texts and English translations, the following ten categories of word are tagged:

The page on display conventions explains how line numbers and tagged words appear on this website.

Next: transliteration conventions

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Page created on 30.iv.1999 by JAB. Last revised on 7.ix.2001 by ER.