The Lepzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS)

Monica Berti
Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities – University of Leipzig

The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series is a new effort within the Open Philology Project of the Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig. The goal of this series is to establish open editions of ancient works that survive only through quotations and text re-uses in later texts (i.e., those pieces of information that humanists call “fragments”). In the field of textual evidence, fragments are not portions of an original larger whole, but the result of a work of interpretation conducted by scholars who extract and collect information pertaining to lost works embedded in other surviving texts. These fragments include a great variety of formats that range from verbatim quotations to vague allusions and translations, which are only a more or less shadowy image of the original according to their closer or further distance from a literal citation.

Print editions of fragmentary works include excerpts extracted from their contexts and from the textual data about those contexts. The result is that they produce annotated indices in the sources that they cite. Moreover, editions of fragmentary works are fundamentally hypertexts and the goal of this project is to produce a dynamic infrastructure for a full representation of relationships between sources, citations, and annotations about them. In a true digital edition, fragments are not only linked directly to the source text from which they are drawn, but can also be precisely aligned to multiple editions. Accordingly, digital fragments are contextualized annotations about reused authors and works. As new versions of (or scholarship on) the source text emerge in a standard, machine-actionable form, these new findings are automatically linked to the digital fragments.

LOFTS has two main goals: 1) digitize paper editions of fragmentary works and link them to source texts; 2) produce born-digital editions of fragmentary works. LOFTS uses both XML and RDF, and can be fully represented either as XML or RDF. Because LOFTS is a meta-text – essentially an annotated index into existing editions – this implies that the source texts cited are also available under a Creative Commons license.

LOFTS has also different subprojects related to the representation of fragmentary works in a digital environment. The first is the Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (DFHG) project, whose goal is to produce a digital edition of the five volumes of Karl Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (FHG) (1841-1870), which is the first big collection of fragments of Greek historians ever realized. While produced two centuries ago and superseded by the monumental edition of Felix Jacoby (Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker), Müller’s FHG is still a fundamental contribution to Greek fragmentary historiography. In particular, it is very suitable for providing rapid, broad coverage and an extensive foundation upon which a new generation of born-digital editions of fragmentary texts can build. The DFHG Project allows to create a large amount of annotations of text re-uses on surviving sources, concurrently building a big survey of fragmentary authors and works, which are part of the Perseus Catalog. Latin translations published by Müller are aligned to the Greek text through Alpheios.

 Other two subprojects include OCR outputs of collections of Greek fragmentary authors (joint project with Mount Allison University) and the annotations of quotations of fragmentary authors in the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus (Digital Athenaeus, joint project with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

 For more information on LOFTS, please visit


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