Manifesto for System Craftsmanship
Raising the bar even further.


One of our most pressing and ever-evolving needs as scholars is to pass on our textual artifacts from one generation to another. The art of textual editing, among other practices, has helped many cultures to remember and interpret for centuries. Alas, that art is practiced and encouraged in its highest form by a dwindling number of scholars. In a digital environment the problem is compounded by the difficulties of the medium. While vast repositories and “e-publications” appear on the online scene yearly, very few manifest a textual scholar’s disciplined attention to detail. In contrast, most textual scholars who have made the leap to a rigorous digital practice have focused on markup, relying on technical teams to deploy and maintain their work. This makes your average scholarly digital edition a very costly and therefore limited affair.

As we see it, a minimal edition is one that aims to reduce the size and complexity of the back and front end while flattening the learning curves for the user and the producer. Out of the box, the Ed theme can help you build a simple reading edition, or a traditional scholarly edition with footnotes and a bibliography, without breaking the bank. In our estimate, these are the two most immediately useful type of editions for editors and readers. An edition produced with Ed consists of static pages whose rate of decay is substantially lower than database-driven systems. As an added bonus, these static pages require less bandwidth. Our hope is that our approach can help beginners and veterans deploy beautiful editions with less effort, and that it can help us teach a ‘full stack’ in one academic semester, while allowing us to care for our projects at less cost, and perhaps, just perhaps, to generate high-quality editions on in large quantities based on the git-lit model by Jonathan Reeve. We’re coming for you, Kindle!

Sample Ed editions.

Current Features

  • Templates for narrative, drama and poetry
  • Responsive design for mobile phones, tablets and PCs.
  • Relatively easy to learn and teach
  • Works well in high- or low- bandwidth scenarios
  • Easier for digital archives and libraries to preserve
  • Open source, open access
  • Unobtrusive footnotes
  • Metadata in Dublin Core and OpenGraph to play nice with Zotero, libraries and social media.
  • Automatic table of content generation
  • Simple search functionality
  • Annotations via
  • Optional: Ability to generate well-formatted bibliographies and linked citations

Installing and using Ed

To learn how to install and begin using Ed, please visit our documentation page.