Document Changes


Compare and analyse two or more sources of information


Copy of the work, handwritten or printed


(A portion of) the text of one witness

When the witnesses have different readings, there is a

textual variation

Dante, Commedia

XIV century XV century XV century
  Witness 1: Taciti soli asença compagnia
  Witness 2: Taciti soli sança compagnia
  Witness 3: Taciti soli et sença compagnia

Samuel Beckett Digital Manuscript Project

Comparison → where is the difference

Annotation → what is the difference

Case 1

  • W1 the star shines
  • W2 the sun shines
  • W3 the star shone
  • W4 the sun shone
  • W5 the stars shine
  • W6 the star shine
  • W7 the sun shine
  • W8 the starts shine
W1 and W2 are synonyms, but there is a lexical difference between them.
W1, W2, W6 and W7 have a verb at present tense, while W3 and W4 use the past tense.
W6 and W7 are not grammatically correct.
W5 is the plural of W1 and W6.
W8 may be an error, as it differs only for a single letter.

Parameters of the annotation

  • Portion of the text: letter or word.
  • Category of change: addition, deletion, substitution and transposition.
  • Linguistic category: spelling, morphosyntax, lexis.
  • Specific phenomena: variation in gender, number, case, tense; synonym; dittography, apheresis, gemination ... ... ...

Case 1

Case 2

Case 2

Annotations are stored in a database.

Examples of query

  • How many additions, deletions, substitutions and transpositions occur between W1 and W2?
  • In which part of the text (sequence) are there more variations?
  • How many times W1 and W2 use the same verb, but in a different tense?
  • How many times W1 and W2 share a spelling variation?
  • How many times W1 and W2 have the same words, but in a different order?

Thanks for your attention.

Elena Spadini

DiXiT Marie Curie fellow
Huygens ING