A system for typesetting critical editions on Personal Computers

CET screen shot
screen capture (OS/2)

Typesetting critical editions in the conventional way is a time and money consuming task. Revising the text can lead to the alteration of all following line numbers in the critical apparatus. Therefore, wrong line numbers in the critical apparatus are almost unavoidable --- however much care has been taken during the several revisions of the text. The editor depends on a compositor, who provides the editor with printouts. The Critical Edition Typesetter (CET) solves these problems: using CET the editor can typeset the critical edition without help from a compositor. The line numbers are computed by CET and the editor can print the text with correct line numbers at any time during the revision. CET produces an output file in PostScript format which can be printed using low cost matrix printers and professional photo-typesetters.

The development of CET was motivated by Prof. Dr. L. Hödl (Bochum), who was looking for an adequate computer program for typesetting his contribution to the edition of Henry of Ghent's Summa (editor: Dr. R. Macken, Leuven). CET is in use at various universities and institutes.

CET consists of six main components:

  1. a word processor for entering the text of the edition into the computer (any word processor which can export text in ASCII format can be used)
  2. the preprocessor CEPP for converting the entered text into a TeX input file (B. Karasch)
  3. the typesetting program TeX for typesetting the TeX input file generated by CEPP (D. E. Knuth; Eberhard Mattes)
  4. the TeX macro package EDMAC, which adds features for typesetting critical editions to TeX (J. Lavagnino and D. Wujastyk)
  5. the PostScript converter dvips for converting the output file from TeX into a PostScript file (D. E. Knuth and T. Rokicki)
  6. a PostScript emulator for printing on printers which do not understand PostScript (e. g. matrix printers) and for previewing the text on the screen
The only component visible to the editor is the word processor. All other components carry out their work in the background.

The editor uses CET via a menu which contains six items:

  1. Edit
    CET asks for the name of the file to be modified. The commands for printing italics, bold letters, small capitals and for marking the lemmata must be put into the text by the editor --- the editor has to do the work of the compositor. Finally the modified file must be saved to disk using the ASCII export option of the word processor.

  2. Typeset
    CET typesets the text entered by the editor. The result is a PostScript file ready for printing.

  3. Preview
    CET previews the result of the typesetting on the screen. The screen output roughly corresponds to the printer output and can be magnified.

  4. Print
    CET prints the selected pages (all pages, single pages, a range of pages).

  5. PostScript-Preview
    CET previews the result of the typesetting on the screen. The screen output corresponds to the printer output, but magnifying is not available.

  6. Settings
    CET displays the options for the layout of the edition (text height and width, headline, position of line numbers in the margin, formatting of the apparatus, etc.).
The normal process consists of the cycle Edit - Typeset - Preview. By choosing Print the editor can print the edition within this cycle at any time. After the last revision of the edition the PostScript file generated by CET can be sent to the printing office - no intervention by a compositor is required.

An excerpt from Henry of Ghent's Summa may serve as an example for the process of typesetting an edition. The editor has to type in the following text:


<VSB>0.5 cm<VSE>

Quia ante  determinationem cuiuslibet  quaestionis (*|*)  {A
231<RB>ra<RE>}    de     re    quacumque     si(*|*)     {K'
281<RB>va<RE>}gnificata  per   nomen  oportet   scire,  quid
significatur per (+nomen+) {et quid <IB>add.<IE> S'} et quis
sit intellectus  eius, idcirco hic sciendum est in principio
quod, cum  in rebus  creatis a quibus manuducimur ad divina,
videmus duplex  bonum, quoddam  quod consistit  in natura et
essentia rei,  quoddam  vero  quod  consistit  in  accidente
(+et+) {<IB>om.<IE>  T'} aliquo  essentiae rei  superaddito,
(+bonum+) {<IB>iter.  et del.<IE> K'} primo modo appellat (-
<SCB>Boethius<SCE>   in   fine   <SPB>De hebdomadibus<SPE>
<IB><<generale  bonum>><IE>,  (+quia+)  {quod  K'P'R'S'T'W'}
(+consequitur+) {sequitur  K'} omne  ens secundum  quod  ens
est.    (+secundum+)    {secundo    T'}    bonum    appellat
<IB>speciale<IE>  bonum,   et  tale   bonum,  (+ut   dicit+)
{<IB>iter.<IE> S'}, (+est+) {esse S'} <IB>iustum<IE> esse,-)
{<SCB>Boethius<SCE>,  <IB>De  hebdom.<IE>  (ed.  <SCB>N.  M.
Häring<SCE> in  <SCB>Gilb. Porr.<SCE> <IB>Comm.<IE>, p. 384,
88).} accipiendo  iustum a generali iustitia, (+quae+) {quod
K'P'}    secundum     (-<SCB>Philosophum<SCE>,    V<RB>o<RE>
<SPB>Ethicorum<SPE>    comprehendit     omnes    virtutes,-)
{<SCB>Arist<SCE>,  <IB>Eth.  Nicom.<IE>,  V,  c.  1  Transl.
<SCB>Grosseteste<SCE>, (ed. <SCB>R. A. Gauthier<SCE> p. 455,
16; Iunt.  III, f.  64rE; a1130a9--10).}  et bonum iustitiae
(+est+) {omne  K'P'R'S'T'W'} bonum virtutis et (+adveniens+)
{superadveniens  A  (<IB>sed  del.<IE>  super)  superveniens
K'P'R'S'T'W'} essentiae  rei, per quod ordinatur ad operari,
quia (-<IB><<virtus  est <NB>quae<NE>  habentem perficit  et
opus eius  bonum reddit>><IE>.-)  {<IB>ibid.<IE>, II,  c.  5
Translatio   <SCB>Grosseteste<SCE>,    (ed.    <SCB>R.    A.
Gauthier<SCE>, p.  402, 14; Iunt. III, f. 23vH--J; 1106a 16;
<SCB>Anon.<SCE>   <IB>Auct.    Arist.<IE>,    ed.    <SCB>J.
Hamesse<SCE> 12, 37).}

Unde, (-distinguendo  primum bonum  contra  secundum,  dicit
<SCB>Boethius <SCE>,  quod  <IB><<bonum  esse  ad  essentiam,
iustum    vero     esse    ad     actum    respicit>><IE>.-)
{<SCB>Boethius<SCE>,  <IB>De  hebdom.<IE>  (ed.  <SCB>N.  M.
Häring<SCE> in  <SCB>Gilb. Porr.<SCE> <IB>Comm.<IE>, p. 383,
82--83).}  Et  (-dicit  <SCB>Augustinus<SCE>,  VIII<RB>o<RE>
<SPB>De Trinitate,<SPE>  cap.<RB>o<RE> 4<RB>o<RE>: <IB><<Cum
audio,  verbi  gratia,  (+quod  dicitur+)  {-quod  dicitur-}
{<IB>om.<IE> K'P'}  animus bonus,  sicut duo verba sunt, ita
ex eis  verbis duo  quaedam intelligo: aliud quo animus est,
aliud  quo   (*|*)   {T'   182<RB>ra<RE>}   (+bonus+)   {est
<IB>add.<IE> K'P'}. (+Et+) {<IB>om.<IE> K'P'R'S'} (+quidem+)
{quiam  K'},   ut  animus   esset,  non   egit   (*|*)   {T'
182<RB>ra<RE>} ipse  (*|*) {P'  231<RB>rb<RE>} aliquid,  non
enim iam  erat qui  ageret ut  esset.  Ut  autem  sit  bonus
animus, video  agendum esse  voluntate, non  quia (+id+) {ad
S'} ipsum  quo animus  est non  est aliquid boni, sed nondum
dici<NB>mus<NE>  <animus   bonus>,  quia   restat  ei  actio
voluntatis     qua     <NB>fit<NE>     praestantior.>><IE>-)
{<SCB>Aug.<SCE>, <IB>De  Trin.<IE> VIII, c. 3,4 (ed. CC lat.
50, 272, 26--273, 35; PL 42, 949--950).}
An empty line marks the end of a paragraph. <CB> and <CE> mark the beginning and the end of centered text. <VSB> and <VSE> cause a vertical space, (* and *) mark the beginning and the end of a lemma for footnote series 1. Lemmata embraced by (+ +) and (- -) will be put into footnote series 2 and footnote series 3 respectively. The variant readings following the lemmata must be embraced by { }. An alternative lemma, which will be put into the critical apparatus instead of the lemma embraced by (+ +), ... must be embraced by {- -}. Text between <IB> and <IE> is italic, between <NB> and <NE> normal. <SCB> and <SCE> embrace text consisting of smalls capitals, <RB> and <RE> embrace raised text. The command names <CB>, <CE>, (+, +), ..., which represent the corresponding typesetting commands, can be changed by the editor.

Typeset and Print lead to the following result (click on image for a larger version):


Some additional examples (click on images for larger versions):

CET source code CET source code CET source code
PostScript PostScript PostScript
CET source code

[The PostScript files must be decompressed with unzip.exe.]

The layout can be changed by selecting Settings from the CET menu. Changing the layout does not require modifications in the text.

As an option, CET offers a word processor which can highlight the typesetting commands (<IB>,<IE>, ...) in a different color. This makes it easier for the editor to distinguish between text to be printed and typesetting commands.

CET detects mistakes made by the editor and presents the editor with an error message and loads the text into the word processor. After correcting the mistake the editor can typeset the text again.

Available fonts:

Essential features

Hardware requirements

IBM-PC compatible computer with 80386 processor (or better), 30 MB of harddisk space; recommended processor: 80486DX, 33 MHz


Software requirements

MS-DOS 3.2 or OS/2 2.0 or Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 (or later versions of these operating systems)


Please contact Bernt Karasch ().

CET home page
© 2000-2004 by Bernt Karasch () All rights reserved. 2004-01-09