The central task of the website is a permanently accessible and intuitive user interface for the transcriptions of capitularies as well as related information. The publication is primarily directed towards an (interdisciplinary) expert audience, but should also make it possible for the interested layman and the general public to gain access to this specific field of research. More detailed information on the technical implementation of the project can be found in the documentation by Marcello Perathoner.
The website should be displayed correctly with all current browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera.
We recommend to cite the website as follows
[Title of the site/file, e.g. „Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. Blankenb. 130“], in: Capitularia. Edition der fränkischen Herrschererlasse, ed. by Karl Ubl and collaborators, Cologne 2014 ff. URL: http://capitularia.uni-koeln.de/mss/wolfenbuettel-hab-blankenb-130 (retrieved on: [current date])
You can find a citation box at the bottom of each manuscript page.
The website and its contents (except images) are licensed under Creative Commons:
Usage rights of the manuscript images shown are owned by the holding institutions that provide those at different conditions. The rights are indicated respectively.
Usage rights of private photos are owned by the project. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us (bmischke[at]uni-koeln.de).
- The website is designed as a multilingual page. Regarding the menu, navigation can be varied between English and German. Also introductory texts and notes are available in both languages.
- Content can be accessed via different ways (browsing). A full-text search as well as a manuscript filter (selection of manuscripts by category + free text) is also available.
- All manuscript descriptions and transcriptions are available for download as XML files. One can find those at the Downloads page as well as beneath each manuscript page.
- Capitularia focuses on reusing and connecting external resources such as digital facsimiles.
- An extensive, largely annotated bibliography collects all thematically relevant literature. Texts and editions (e.g. dMGH) that are freely available are included via hyperlinks.
The following domains should be distinguished:
- “Text-based” technologies (XML)
- Technologies used for the website
- Technologies used “behind the scenes”
With regard to the markup, the project depends on the specifications of the Text Encoding Initiative Proposal 5 (TEI P5), an XML standard, which is widely used in the digital humanities.
- Based on the TEI guidelines, project-specific guidelines were developed for creating the transcriptions [Capitularia staff, Franz Fischer]. Detailed information can be found under Workflow or in the transcription guidelines themselves, which are also available for downloading.
- The creation and editing of files is carried out using the oXygen XML editor. For each codex there is an XML file, which in the upper part (teiHeader) holds the so-called metadata (data about the manuscript). Here, a detailed description based on information from Mordek’s Bibliotheca (Mordek 1995) is given. In the lower part (body), the transcriptions of the individual capitularies can be found, preceded by an editorial preface worded by the Capitularia staff members. Editing the files is done directly on the server, which is connected as a data source to the editor by means of WebDAV. This ensures that all employees at all times have access to the latest versions. Older versions are stored in an archive.
The base of all manuscript descriptions as well as of most index pages (lists of manuscripts / capitularies) is Mordek’s Bibliotheca, which was transferred to XML by means of OCR (courtesy of the MGH). Further markup was added to this corpus file to enable the automated creation of TEI-accordant manuscript descriptions [Daniela Schulz].
Whether the specified guidelines are adhered to in all transcriptions / revisions, is controlled by a scheme (Relax NG), which was created using the Roma tool. The scheme is specifically tailored to the needs of the project. In addition to the Relax NG scheme, the bibliography as well as the transcriptions are also checked by a Schematron schema [Martina Gödel].
Since composition and maintenance of a bibliography represents an important task in many projects, a cross-project solution has been sought by the CCeH. Therefore a working group [Ulrike Henny, Martina Gödel, Daniela Schulz] at first analysed the needs of the individual projects as well as existing approaches. Based on this analysis, basic entry types were developed.
The administration of the bibliography itself also takes place in TEI XML. For our project, a rough distinction is made between editions or translations, secondary literature and manuscript catalogues. Further, the entry types “Book” (monographs), “Book Section” (essays in anthologies, chapters), “Journal Article” (journal articles) are dealt with separately. The use of Schematron ensures that new entries in the already extensive bibliography (currently more than 2400 entries as of May 2021) are coherent and complete and thus facilitates the work of the employee responsible [Sören Kaschke].
To administer the website and to include further functionalities such as a multilingual interface, WordPress (current: 4.7.4) was selected as Content Management System. This open source system is commonly used as blog software in the World Wide Web, but has heretofore been hardly deployed for XML-based Digital Humanities projects. Because of the positive experiences with WordPress in the Bibliotheca legum project, which can be seen as complementary to Capitularia as it deals with the transmission of the leges (so-called Barbarian rights), that are another important source for Early Medieval legal knowledge, the same CMS was selected here.
It is PHP-based and uses a MySQL database. One of the huge advantages of WordPress is, that – due to its wide spread – a large community participates in the further development and also in the documentation. Thus, for numerous problems already more or less ready-made solutions exist, or – if not – one can easily develop one’s own plugins due to the good documentation.
Transformation to HTML
To show the information that is stored in the XML files, they must be transformed to HTML. This is done by using XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language). The scripts were specifically written for the project’s needs by members of Capitularia or the CCeH [Nils Geißler, Marcello Perathoner, Daniela Schulz].
Costumization and development
Further functionalities can be implemented in WordPress via extensions, the so-called Plugins. On the part of the CCEH staff responsible for the website [Nils Geißler, Marcello Perathoner], specific plugins for Capitularia have been developed. The “Capitularia XSL Processor” plugin is an extension or advancement of an existing plug-in (“XSL Processor Plugin”). It allows the fundamental transformation of XML files to HTML within the CMS. To prevent the transformation process from starting again on every page request, which would result in longer loading times, it is checked whether the underlying files have been edited in the meantime. Only then the transformation will be triggered. During this process, the generated content is written simultaneously (in HTML) into the respective WordPress page itself, so that the “normal” full text search can be used also in this context.
- Furthermore, the “Capitularia Page Generator” was developed to enable the automated generation of the single manuscript pages. It allows the Capitularia staff members to create new pages with only a single click.
To make the website as appealing and as well-arranged as possible, the design was put in professional hands. The capitularia logo, the basic layout and the color concept has been designed by Peter Korthals (CGN Corporate). The adaptation and implementation was (and continues to be) carried out by the staff of CCEH [Nils Geißler, Marcello Perathoner, Jonathan Blumtritt, Christian Theisen].
“Behind the scenes”
For the project staff and the editorial team an internal workspace exists. It allows the participants, of which many are not Cologne-based, to gain access to important resources or documents. Also the blog feature, for example, is not only used to spread the latest news to the website’s users, but for internal communication and documentation as well.
The transcriptions produced by the project staff not only form the basis of the present website, but also serve as preparatory work for the critical edition carried out by the editors. In order to facilitate their work with the numerous textual witnesses and provide more transparency and clarity, the collation is backed by a “variance score”. To create such a synopsis, at first “disturbing” information must be excluded by means of a script [Nils Geißler]. The resulting “plain text” files are then loaded into an CollateX based application which produces a HTML document. This displays corresponding passages aligned with each other. At the same time deviations from the “base text” (here the edition of Boretius / Krause was used as a common reference text) are highlighted [Gioele Barabucci].
The transcriptions are made on the basis of digital facsimiles. If those images are not freely available on the Internet, either existing microfilms are used (if at hand in sufficient quality) or new digital images must be ordered from the holding institutions. For legal reasons, these images can not be made publicly available, but need to be accessible to the staff members as well as to the editiors at any given point in time. Therefore an image server has been set up by the CCEH [Peter Dängeli].
The naming of the image files, which ideally should be available as individual images in TIFF format (lossless compression), takes place according to established rules. The folio or page numbers are contained therein so that required files can be found as fast as possible. In addition to the single image files, also a “working version” is provided in PDF format. A text file holds detailed information on the present composition (quantity and quality of its images, text contained etc.) [Anja Holtschneider, Daniela Schulz].