Guidelines for editors of the Early English Laws

These Guidelines provide directions to show you how to add your edition to the database in a way that will allow all of its elements (introduction, edition, apparatus, translation, transcriptions, and commentary) to be displayed correctly.  If followed, they will allow you both to work efficiently entering your texts and to correct or revise your work at any time.

These guidelines can also be downlaoded in PDF form Icon here (file missing!) .

In order to ensure the correct output of your edition, it is strongly advised that you follow the instructions below in the right order:

1. Review the metadata of the edition record

Icon View of Edition Metadata page (file missing!)

  • Leave the ‘Abbreviation’ and ‘Version’ fields untouched.
  •  Add a date for your edition in the ‘Date of edition’ field, following the suggestions given just below the date field. This date is the equivalent of your publication date.
  •  Add any hyparchetypes in the bottom section of the page. You should use only Greek letters for the hyparchetypes. Give a brief description for each, as in the example below. Remember to ‘save’ or ‘save and add another’ in the bottom right corner of the page whenever you add something.

Icon Hyparchetypes (file missing!)

2. Edit the text of the edition

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the editing page before you start adding text to any field. The editing page is made up of several components:

Icon Edition editor (file missing!)

  •  The text editor itself: in the middle of the page
  •  The text structure: on the left-hand side
  •  The commentary editor: under the text editor.


It is very important that the next steps are done in the following order:

  • Write or paste in the plain text of your edition (without commentary, notes or critical apparatus). If you use IE, pasting in the text box might generate erratic line breaks, this does not affect the final display.
  • Mark-up the structure of your text (please see below for more details on how to do this).
  •  Mark-up inline elements (additions, deletions, gaps ...).
  • Insert page or folio breaks.
  •  Add the critical apparatus.
  •  Add the commentary:
  • Attach commentaries to specific units of your text (more on this below).
  • Format your commentary.
  • Mark-up references to other texts.
  • Mark-up people, places, glossary terms and bibliographic references.
  • Remove editorial notes from the text


2.1 How do I use the editing page?

The text and commentary editors have toolbars at the top with buttons to mark-up highlighted text.


2.2 How do I mark-up the structure of my text?

The text editor offers several options for the marking-up of the text structure:

Icon Text editor close-up (file missing!)

  • Code (used to wrap a single code or single items in collections of codes, e.g. Quadripartitus)
  • Prologue
  • Book
  • Chapter
  • Division: a subdivision of a chapter or a prologue.

It is important is understand that the above structural units form a hierarchy and some combinations are obviously inconsistent (e.g., a book within a chapter or a prologue within a division). Although the text editor lets you mark-up your text in many ways (including possibly inconsistent ones), it is advisable to follow a top-down approach: starting with the code, through prologues, books, chapters, and ending with the divisions, although it is always possible to add prologues to books.

To mark-up a section of your text as any of the above structures:

  • Select the portion of text in which you are interested (to select the whole text it is sometimes easier to use the shortcut combination ctrl+A, or cmd+A for mac).
  • Click on the relevant menu option to add structure to the text.

The structure is summarized in the left-hand box; mouse over the box to update the structure display.

 2.3 How is the text structure numbered?

 Sequential numbers are automatically assigned to each structural unit of your text. These numbers are visible in the text structure panel on the left-hand side of your screen. All of these numbers are relative to the containing unit. So the second division of any chapter will received the number 2. However, the system knows to which chapter they belong and will therefore be able to distinguish them when they are rendered on the live website.

As you will notice, these numbers are not visible in the text editor itself. For this reason you may find it useful temporarily to keep written numbers within your text (e.g. '[Prol. 1]' for the first prologue or [2.3] for subdivision 3 of chapter 2).

At the end of the editing process these numbers should be removed, as they will unnecessarily duplicate the information already captured by the system.

If your text follows Liebermann's conventions and has no number after the decimal point for the first division, thus the sequence runs 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, with 4.1 being the second division and 4.2 the third, you can overwrite it by clicking on the corresponding digits in the left-hand side panel. A small window will pop up and ask you to correct the number. The same can be done if the numbering automatically assigned by the text editor is incorrect for any reason.

Care should be taken to ensure that all editions, translations, and transcriptions share precisely the same structure and numbering otherwise their synchronised rendering on the website will contain discrepancies. The preview page is there to help you detect such problems. You can find a link to it in the top right corner of the editor.


2.4 How do I remove the mark-up?

The right way to remove the mark-up is first to place your cursor anywhere in the marked-up text then click the eraser button ('Clear').

It is better to avoid deleting the mark-up by deleting the text (e.g., with the delete or backspace keys). Doing this could break the structure of your text or leave invisible and polluting mark-up in your text.


2.5 How do I save my changes to the database?

Your changes to the text are saved to the database when:

  •  You click on the ‘save’ button at the top of the editor. In principle you only need to click this button before leaving the web page (or closing the browser/computer) or at the end of an editing session, but it is safer to save your document regularly to avoid loss of data.
  • You move your mouse over the text structure. That way your text is automatically saved each time you navigate from one portion of your text to another by clicking on the relevant division in the structure.


2.6 Inline elements

Inline mark-up refers to the explicit labelling of a sequence of characters or words within a paragraph. This type of mark-up allows you to preserve additional characteristics of your text in a way that is both standard and easily understood and processed by computers. Apart from the 'Gap' mark-up, all the inline elements are edited in the same way: you first highlight the relevant sequence of characters or words with your mouse then you click on the button which corresponds to your mark-up. With the 'Gap' element you don't need to highlight anything, you just have to place your cursor at the exact place where the gap occurs in the text.

  •  Title: the title of a law code, a book or any other unit of text.
  • Rubric: 'contains the text of any rubric or heading attached to a particular manuscript item, that is, a string of words through which a manuscript signals the beginning of a text division, which is in some way set off from the text itself, usually in red ink, or by use of different size or type of script, or some other such visual device'.
  •  Added: 'contains letters, words, or phrases inserted in the text by an author, scribe, annotator, or corrector'.
  • Deleted: 'contains a letter, word, or passage deleted, marked as deleted, or otherwise indicated as superfluous or spurious in the copy text by an author, scribe, annotator, or corrector'.
  • Gap: 'indicates a point where material has been omitted in a transcription because the material is illegible, or invisible.
  •  Supplied: 'signifies text supplied by the editor for any reason, typically because the original cannot be read because of physical damage or loss to the original'.

 To unmark an element, simply place your cursor within it and press the 'clear' button.

2.7 People, places, glossary terms and bibliographic references

Follow these steps to mark-up a person in your text:

  • Highlight the name of the person in your text.
  • Select the option 'person' in the drop-down in the toolbar (at the top of the text editor).
  • Type the name of the person in the small text box to the right of the drop-down and press ENTER.
  • If the person is found in the database, their name should be included in a list under the text box.
  • If they are not found, no list will appear. It is either because the spelling of the name you have typed does not match the one in the database or simply because the name is not in the database.
  • Note that you can enter fragments of the entry you are looking for. For instance 'wil' will match 'William I'. This is particularly useful for bibliographic entries as it allows you to search for an entry based on any of its fields (title, year, authors).
  • Click on the relevant entry in that list.
  • The highlighted name in your text should now be marked up in blue.

 The procedure is the same for places, glossary terms and bibliographic references.

 To unmark an element, simply place your cursor within it and press the 'clear' button.

2.8 Page and folio breaks

The page break button in the toolbar can be used to specify that the current location of the cursor in your text corresponds to the beginning of a new folio side. By specifying the page or folio break for each witness the website will have enough information to display the correct page or folio facsimile next to a particular section of your text.

To review or modify the information about a page of folio break, simply place your cursor anywhere within '[PB]' and click the 'Page break' button again. A window will pop up with a form to correct the manuscript and the folio or page number.

To unmark a page or folio break, simply place your cursor within it and press the 'clear' button.

2.9 Critical apparatus

To add the critical apparatus:

  • Select the relevant portion of text in the text editor by highlighting the relevant text.
  • Click the Critical Apparatus icon ('A 1 ').
  • A window pops up:
  • The 'lemma' field corresponds to the text you have selected.
  • Each row under that field corresponds to different readings.
  • Write the alternative reading in the text box (anything surrounded with {} will appear in italic on the website, e.g. '{om} locus' will result in 'om. locus').
  • Then, on the same row, tick the checkboxes under the witnesses or hyparchetypes which contain that reading.
  • The rows left empty will be ignored by the system.
  • Select 'insert' (or cancel to discard the changes).
  • Now you should see '[A]' at the end of your selection. This serves as a reference to the apparatus that you have just created.

 To view or edit a critical apparatus:

  • Locate the apparatus in your text.
  • Click on the green [A] in the text and make sure your cursor is blinking within the '[A]'.
  • Then click the Critical Apparatus button ('A 1 ').
  • Now a window will pop up and display your readings
  • Edit the lemma, readings or checkboxes
  • Click 'insert' (or cancel to discard the changes).
  • To delete a critical apparatus:
  • Locate the apparatus in your text.
  • Click on the [A] and make sure your cursor is blinking within the '[A]'.
  • Click the eraser button ('Clear').

2.10 Commentary

A commentary text box is visible under the main text editor on the editing page. Note that the structure of the commentary closely follows that of the edition. The commentary is broken into smaller parts, each one attached to a particular division of your edition (book, chapter, sub-division, etc.).

  • To comment on a particular section of your text, simply click on that division in the text structure (on the left-hand side on your screen). This will display the corresponding portion of the edition in the main text editor and the corresponding commentary in the box below, where it can be edited.
  • To remove a commentary, just delete all the commentary text.

The commentary is always saved together with the text of the edition.

Each time your edition is saved, the text structure is refreshed and the divisions of the text containing a commentary will appear there with a small document icon next to them.

2.11 How can I explicitly declare a reference to another text?

If your commentary mentions other texts which are also part of this project, it is worth marking up those references so that they will be clickable on the website.

Here's how to turn the description of a reference into a hyperlink:

  • Highlight the description of your reference with your mouse.
  • Click on the button called 'Reference to another text'.
  • A new window pops up to let you enter additional information about the text.
  • ‘Type of text’ lets you choose between an edition, a transcription or a translation.
  • Once the type of text is selected, you can choose the actual witness or edition in the 'Text' drop-down.
  • If your reference relates to a portion of law code borrowed from another text, you can select 'quotation'. Otherwise set this drop-down to 'other'.
  • The rest of the form lets you specify which portion of the text you'd like to reference. This is optional but it is recommended that you be as specific as possible as the hyperlink will point exactly to that area.

 The portion of the text can be defined in one of two ways:

  • It is either a single unit of text (for instance a whole chapter or a sub-chapter). A row will appear at the bottom of the form where you can specify the position of the unit.
  • Or it is a range across two units of text (for instance from the second chapter to the first sub-division of the fourth chapter).

Two rows will appear at the bottom of the form where you can specify the position of the beginning and the end of the range. Both are inclusive.

Note that, depending on the structure of the referenced text, some fields can be left unspecified.

Click 'Insert' to confirm the information associated with the reference.

To view or modify the information associated with a reference, simply click anywhere in its description (this description is underlined in blue) and then click on the 'Reference' button again. The same window will pop up.

2.12 Technical issues

 Is the editing interface compatible with my browser?

The editing page contains sophisticated components that require recent browsers to work properly. The supported browsers are Firefox 3.6 or later and IE 8 or later.

If you are experiencing problems with Firefox or IE, please report a bug by sending an email to earlyenglishlaws[at]

2.13 What is Junicode and how do I install it?

 Junicode is one of the rare computer fonts that can display a wide range of medieval characters on a screen.

 To install it, first download the file from the Internet then unzip the file. You should now have four files: Junicode-Bold.ttf, Junicode-BoldItalic.ttf, Junicode-Italic.ttf and Junicode-Regular.ttf.

 In Windows, right click each one of those files and select Install in the pop-up menu.

 For a mac, find your ‘Font Book’ in your computer (you can search for it in the search menu at the top right corner of your screen), then select ‘Add font’ from your ‘File’ menu and add the fonts you have just downloaded.