In principle, all transcriptions are diplomatic. Verses and words are only separated and punctuated where this is the case in the original document, the variant letter forms ſ and s, and u and v (although not variant forms of r or z) are differentiated, text is not supplied in the case of omissions or errors, and abbreviations are not expanded in the first instance. Verses are not numbered.
Ligatures, superscript characters and commonly used abbreviation marks such as tildes and r-loops have been represented in a manner which reflects as closely as possible their original form. In the case of abbreviated Latin words, only abbreviation marks falling within this conventional range are represented and the transcript otherwise restricts itself to the letters and superscript letters written in line with the method of the standard reference work, Adriano Cappelli’s Dizionario di Abbreviature Latini ed Italiani.
Marginal notes and scribal corrections are recorded insofar as they are contemporary. In the case of corrections, the transcribed text reflects what is understood to be the intended final form of a given line, and notes on the apparent original form and correction process are given in notes along with any additional information on the state of the manuscript or issues with its readings.
Where manuscript witnesses are no longer extant, transcriptions have been based on available published material and are thus subject to certain limitations in terms of the textual detail they can record. In these cases the transcriptions provided do not reproduce a single published source, but rather draw together information from all available sources to reconstruct as far as possible the original form of the manuscript witness in line with our transcription principles. All necessary limitations, including issues of accuracy, are clearly noted in the individual documents.
With a view to increased ease of navigation and increased searchability, two key interventions have been made in the online presentation of the transcriptions:
- The transcription of each manuscript witness has been divided into marked segments corresponding to the episode structure of the text. These ‘chapter’ headings may correlate with, but do not represent, actual rubrics in a given manuscript.
- As far as is reasonably possible, abbreviations have been associated with an expanded form, allowing the user to view and search for the words in which they appear as full words. Such resolved forms have been supplied for all abbreviated Latin words in the main text, and for most common abbreviations appearing within words. An effort has been made to identify and distinguish exceptional cases where, for example, an r-loop may expand to r instead of er. Given the range of possible meanings, it has only been possible to provide automatically expanded forms of words containing tildes where a given word has only one conceivable reading irrespective of context - hence ſtĩme would be resolved whereas ſínẽ would not. The most common exceptions are adjectives, possessive pronouns and articles, in which the tilde will usually indicate an m or n following a marked vowel.