Medieval Text Checklist

Special Considerations – Medieval Editing

West Virginia University Press includes numerous medieval books, both single-author and multi-author, in its list.  Each invariably brings its own challenges to the table.  Following this checklist will help make sure those challenges are dealt with before the book goes to print.

As many medieval books are multi-author, go through the checklist for that type of text as well. A lot of medieval terms have multiple possible forms, so consistency is a major consideration for multi-author medieval books.

When editing a medieval manuscript:

  • Check for an anomalies sheet from the author and add onto it, or if one isn’t present, build one as you go through the text.
  • Check consistency of items like translations and extracts.  Which language comes first? Is the translation in quotes or brackets? (This can be especially troublesome in multi-author texts.)
  • Pay attention to capitalization, spelling, and other elements of religious terms—these are common in the medieval texts and sometimes the author’s preference overrules Chicago.  However, in most cases, use 8.29, 8.97–8.120 as your guide.
  • Keep specialized unusual words on your anomalies sheet or style sheet so you have a quick spelling reference.

If moving the text into the layout stage:

  • Keep an eye on special characters and fonts when the text goes into a new program (i.e., Word → InDesign); oftentimes, programs will read them differently. 
  • See if characters will show up in ITC New Baskerville (common font for medieval texts).  If they don’t, find their GID number for the typesetter. (Listed in InDesign when you look up glyphs.)