The aim of this two-day Masterclass (13-14 June 2017), funded by the DiXIT Scholarly Editions Inital Training Network, is to bring together experts from the fields of Heritage 3D Visualisation and Digital Scholarly Editing to create a common vocabulary between the two disciplines. This Masterclass will explore and problematise the affordances of Virtual Worlds within the theories and methodologies of digital scholarly editing, including the constructing, annotating, reviewing, and evaluating VWs as texts.

In the last three decades, computer-based 3D modelling and visualisation in cultural heritage has enabled the (re)construction of artefacts, buildings, and landscapes as a process of producing and sharing knowledge about the past. However, critics have emphasised their ambiguous nature and their high visual stimulus that deceive users into thinking that these are precise accounts of past reality based on material evidence, historical sources, and scientific methods. Over the years, there have been several attempts to illustrate ambiguity and make the process of production more transparent; non-photorealistic rendering, digital annotations, parameterisation, alternative reconstructions, colour coding, different levels of transparency, quantification of uncertainty, and even a series of theoretical principles, such as the London and Seville Charters, have been suggested and/or employed to overcome the problematic nature of 3D modelling in heritage visualisation.

Over the past twenty five years there has been an evolving body of scholarship exploring the standards, theories, and methodologies of digital scholarly editing producing an  ever-growing body of research exploring what this new medium could bring to the study of the transmission of texts, and thus editorial practice normative to this environment. While much of the emphasis of digital editions has been on texts that can be expressed in machine readable text (either originally in print or manuscript), and their transmission history, the theories and methods informing textual scholarship can be extended to all forms of texts, verbal, visual, or oral.

By bringing together scholars from the two fields we will explore a series of theoretical and practical issues pertaining to the creation, annotation, and publication of virtual worlds with the ultimate aim to marry the practices of both communities in the creation of  new three-dimensional editions that will address the following:

  • How do we consider virtual worlds as texts?
  • What is the textuality of the virtual world?
  • How do we retain the immersion of virtual worlds while providing comprehensive in-world documentation?
  • How do we document ambiguity?
  • How do we make the process of production transparent?
  • What does an apparatus look like in a virtual world?
  • If virtual worlds are the new editions, how are they going to be reviewed and evaluated?


This Masterclass is funded by the following bodies