Critical Edition Typesetting

EDMAC is a program written as a set of plain TeX macros for formatting complex critical editions. You mark up your text and notes using the tags provided by EDMAC, and then TeX will create a beautiful book for you with the text line numbered, lemmata referred to by line-number, up to six layers of notes at the bottom of the page (variants, testimonia, etc.), as well as up to six sets of notes sent to appendices. It is also possible to control the layout of each layer of notes separately: single column, two- or three-column, paragraphed, etc.

Click on the following image to see a page which shows off several of the chief features that EDMAC has to offer:

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PostScript PDF

EDMAC has been used since the early 1990s to typeset many critical editions of texts. Here is a PDF file listing some of these. In addition to editions created using EDMAC directly, there are several editions made with EDMAC but processed via CET (see below).

EDMAC works with plain TeX (not LaTeX). There is nothing to stop you doing your actual text edition with EDMAC, and the rest of the book with LaTeX, of course. And some hackers have even succeeded in getting EDMAC to work with LaTeX to a limited extent, although we don't intend to pursue this route actively.

EDMAC was written as a collaborative project by John Lavagnino and Dominik Wujastyk. It is copyrighted but free.


The EDMAC manual and program documentation has been published in book form as

John Lavagnino and Dominik Wujastyk, Critical Edition Typesetting: The EDMAC format for plain TeX, (San Francisco and Birmingham: TeX Users Group and UK TeX Users Group, 1996).

Getting EDMAC

EDMAC files are available for free download to your computer. The current version of EDMAC is 3.17.

EDMAC style files

Over the years, people have adapted EDMAC for specialist tasks, and added macros to supply extra features, or remedy shortcomings of the basic package. We are most grateful to the authors of these additions to EDMAC's functionality.

EDMACFSS was written by Wayne Sullivan in 1994 to help make EDMAC work together with LaTeX2e. Of course, EDMAC is a plain TeX format, never intended for integration with LaTeX. Nevertheless, in some relatively simple documents, EDMAC can be used as a LaTeX `package'. The documentation file, ed-nfss.txt, contains further caveats and details of how to proceed. The style or package file itself is downloadable as edmacfss.sty.
Edstanza was written by Wayne Sullivan in 1992 to facilitate the setting of poetry. It can be freely downloaded.

An example of the type of text that you can format with EDMAC and edstanza is available here as a TeX DVI file, or as a PostScript file.

Now updated to version 1.1 (March 1997).

Nora Gädeke and Herbert Breger have provided a set of macros called tabmac which can be freely downloaded here, and which provides for using tables within EDMAC formatted text, a combination which was previously impossible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Documentation and examples are also available as TeX DVI file, or as a PostScript file.

Related sites

Idris Hamid, Colorado State University, talking at the TUG 2007 conference, San Diego, about doing critical editions using ConTeXt rather than EDMAC.

Typesetting critical editions of poetry, by John Burt
John Burt's TUGboat article, Volume 22 (2001), No. 4, on the critical edition typesetting of poetry and his poemscol package. Gives a brief overview of TeX packages.
CETeX: Corso di Edizione Critica al computer, L'Università della Santa Croce
A course on EDMAC taught at the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Rome, by Dr J. Leal.

Italian TeX Users' Group EDMAC Page
By Dr J. Leal.

EDNOTES: a LaTeX system for critical editions
Uwe Lück and Christian Tapp have written a system that provides much of the functionality of EDMAC, but within LaTeX2e. This will be suitable for those people who feel most comfortable with LaTeX.

LEDMAC: a port of EDMAC to LaTeX
Peter R. Wilson (P a n d G W i l s o n AT e a r t h l i n k DOT n e t) has ported EDMAC to LaTeX. This again, like EDNOTES, will be of interest to LaTeX users who would prefer not to work with the Plain format.

The documentation of EDNOTES and LEDMAC gives information that will help you to make a choice between them.

Of EDNOTES, Peter Wilson remarks,

Unlike LEDMAC, which is based on EDMAC, EDNOTES takes a different (internal) approach and provides a different set of features. For example it provides additional facilities for overlapping lemmas and for handling tables.
Of LEDMAC, Uwe Lück and Christian Tapp have provided a discussion in TUGboat.

In 2005, both Ednotes and Ledmac are still evolving. Both packages are excellent, and if you are planning a critical edition you should read the documentation for each, and make a decision based on exactly what facilities you need.

Valuable information on LEDMAC in practice, with a FAQ, by Dr. Dirk-Jan Dekker (formerly at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands) can be found  at http://www.djdekker.net/ledmac/

COLLATE written by Peter Robinson.
COLLATE is a Mac program (currently being ported to Windows) for collating manuscripts. The output of COLLATE may be automatically tagged with EDMAC tags. This provides a complete set of tools for creating the text edition, starting from the machine-readable texts of the manuscripts, and ending with the camera-ready-copy of the final edition.
(NB: As of Oct 2006, COLLATE seems to be unavailable.  Peter Robinson wrote a successor program called Anastasia, and explains the history of these projects in articles at http://www.digitalmedievalist.org and http://www.tei-c.org.)
Critical Edition Typesetter by Bernt Karasch
CET consists of a front-end and back-end for EDMAC. The front-end is an editor and pre-processor, for DOS or OS/2, which makes typing your edition very convenient, as well as providing menus for running the "back-end", i.e., TeX, converting the output to PostScript, and viewing or printing the result with Ghostscript.
(NB, Oct 2006: The development of the CET project seems to have ceased some years ago.)
Classical Text Editor by Stefan Hagel.
A self-contained MS Windows program for producing critical editions. A WYSIWYG interface with windows for inputting apparatus, etc.

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wujastyk (at) gmail.com, Dominik Wujastyk.  Page last updated 10 July 2010