This article describes the development and application of an innovative tool, Text Re-use Alignment Visualization (TRAViz), whose aim is to visualize variation between editions of both historical and modern texts. Reading different editions of a text empowers research in literary studies and linguistics, where one can study a text’s reception or follow the development of its language over time. One of the purposes of a text edition is to trace or reconstruct a possible archetype or something that might be considered to be an original version of the text in order to better understand its evolution over time. To do so, the textual scholar examines and records the similarities and the differences between a number of exemplars in what is known as a ‘critical apparatus’. The result of this variant analysis can be visually represented as a ‘Variant Graph’, where the relationships between these exemplars can be more easily studied. Variant Graphs can be, in turn, visualized in order to facilitate reading and interaction with the source data. Borrowing from existing digital tools, TRAViz assists the scholar in the collation process by specifically focusing on design and user engagement, concurrently seeking to simplify interaction as a means of encouraging humanists to adopt the tool. The article will describe the needs and rationale behind the creation of TRAViz by exploring existing research, describing its functionality through examples, and by finally discussing how its application can influence future development of this tool in particular and of the field in general.
- text reuse
- text variant graph