Modern Language Assocation of America
Committee on Scholarly Editions

Guidelines for Electronic Scholarly Editions

NOTE: A draft of a proposed revision of the Guidelines for both print and electronic editions is available at:

Still lacking from the revised Guidelines (as of 6/18/02) are detailed questionnaires to vettors of electronic and print editions.


The draft "Guidelines for Electronic Scholarly Editions" were approved in September of 1997 by the MLA's Committee on Scholarly Editions. They follow the Committee's guidelines for printed scholarly editions as closely as possible. In fact much of the text is drawn word-for-word from the latter, with additions as necessary to accommodate the capabilities of the new media.

They are designed to complement Peter Shillingsburg's General Principles for Electronic Scholarly Editions, a copy of which is also included along with some preliminary considerations by Professor Schillingsburg.

The "Guidelines" have already been distributed to a small group of experienced scholars and modified on the basis of their comments. Send any comments to the Committee's listserv ( for full discussion. Please feel free to notify other scholars of their existence either privately or by posting this notice on appropriate mailing lists.

The Guidelines provide a relatively abstract statement of desiderata; they provide no guidance for current software that may be used to implement them. The Committee hopes to develop a list of recommended software and would be very grateful for suggestions, which should also be sent to the Committee's listserv (

Guidelines for Electronic Scholarly Editions

Many thanks for your help.

Charles B. Faulhaber
U. of California, Berkeley

December 1, 1997