Lou Burnard pushes against the notion of digitized-manuscript-as-facsimile, implying that digital humanists should not try to reproduce a material manuscript on a screen, as that involves defining an impossible authenticity, a nebulous “higher purer reality.” Burnard’s vision of a single, structured encoding system for manuscript digitization does, however, include standardizing markup in such a way as to create a more predictable experience with a digitized manuscript. A standard markup practice, if it is widely implemented, has the potential to become practically invisible over time as users begin to take it for granted. If we learn to expect certain manuscript viewing experiences on our screens, then readers might eventually see through markup (or its effects) whenever necessary in order to access the text in a slightly more direct (“authentic”?) way.* It will be interesting to see how our hermeneutic practices change as a result of TEI’s near-ubiquitous use for manuscript encoding.


*Standard markup practices may also increasingly permit users to control how visible, or how invasive, markup appears to be on any digitized text. Amanda Gailey provides one example of how this might work when she mentions giving the viewer the option to turn dialect translations on (accessing searchable text) or off (accessing text-as-written) in the works of Joel Chandler Harris.