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Brill Scholarly Editions is an online application designed specifically for the publication of texts, in particular text editions of literary and scholarly works, as well as translations and commentaries.

How does Brill Scholarly Editions work?


The homepage presents readers with a number of options: Browse, About, FAQ, Login. The main option, Browse, takes the readers to the library.


Textgroups and works

The library is a collection of works, grouped by textgroup. A textgroup may belong to an author, as in the case of Ammianus Marcellinus, or represent some other assembly of texts.

Click on the arrow in front of a textgroup to show its contents. Some textgroups may contain only one work, others more. For example, the textgroup Ammianus Marcellinus contains one work, because the Roman historian Ammianus wrote only one work: Res Gestae.

Versions and labels

To the right of the works, there are small labels. These represent versions of works. For example, a text edition of Against Apion by Flavius Josephus is one version of that work, its translation is another version, and the commentary is yet another version.

The versions are identified by language. For example, the text edition of the Peshitta, the Old Testament in Syriac, will be syr1, whereas its English translation would be eng1. An English-language commentary would then be eng2. The Brill publication Ammianus Marcellinus Online consists of two text editions of the Res Gestae and one commentary based on these two texts. The labels therefore read lat1, lat2, and eng1.

The color of the labels - red or green - shows if users have access to that version of a work. Hover over the labels to see the work version's metadata. Click on a label to open the work in the viewer.


On the first page in the library, the one showing textgroups and works, there are identifiers visible between the works and the labels. These identify, universally and unambiguously, the textgroup, the work, and any passage or section within it, right down to the individual word or character.

These identifiers - known as canonical references - follow the structure of a work. For example, urn:cts:latinLit:stoa0023 identifies the textgroup Ammianus Marcellinus; urn:cts:latinLit:stoa0023.stoa001 identifies the Res Gestae, and urn:cts:latinLit:stoa0023.stoa001.amo-lat2 identifies the Seyfarth edition of this work.

Browsing the library - textgroups, works, tables of contents - follows this structure.

Textgroup and work pages

Alternatively, click on a texgroup to get on overview of all works (and their versions) in it. Or click on a work (or rather its title) for a more detailed overview of all the versions. In both cases, a new page opens.

On these pages, metadata (bibliographical information) is presented. Access symbols in front of the Read button again show whether users have access. Click on the title of a textgroup to open the table of contents in a new page: the viewer.


The heart of Brill Scholarly Editions is the viewer. It centers on one thing: reading. This means the text is presented in the middle of the screen, without any distractions.

To the left, a panel offers options to explore the work. This can be folded in and out. The options include browsing passages and a text search.

To the right, a panel offers tools. This, too, can fold in and out. These tools include Text Size, a Highlight Mode that allows a Morphology tool to function, and an XML generator.

From the center panel, users have the option to open a parallel panel. This offers a side-by-side view of, for example, source text and translation.

Go to the library, select a textgroup, then select a work. Click on the work version you need.


The tools in the right panel of the viewer are small applications, known as widgets. These include:

  • CTS URN. This gives the identifier for the passages currently displayed in the viewer
  • EXPORT PASSAGE. This generates plain text or TEI XML
  • TEXT MODE. This has two options. NORMAL allows users to select and copy text. HIGHLIGHT means users can click on a word, or shift-click for a range of words. This triggers two other widgets, Highlight and Morphology
  • TEXT SIZE. Choice of five sizes
  • TEXT WIDTH. Choice of five widths
  • HIGHLIGHT. This tells the user which word is highlighted in the text. The number between square brackets gives the occurence of that term in the passage currently displayed in the viewer
  • MORPHOLOGY. This gives a grammatical analysis if a highlighted word. This currently works for Latin and Greek.

More widgets will be developed as new content is added to the library.

Text Search is an option in the bar at the top of the screen. It is available on every page. Click on the option to go to a dedicated Text Search page. Here, a Search Guide details how to create sophisticated search strings. Below the search box, locations of the search terms are shown.

The Search Guide has the following options:

  • + signifies AND operation. For example: shoe + boot
  • | signifies OR operation. For example: shoe | boot
  • - negates a single token. For example: shoe -boot
  • " wraps a number of tokens to signify a phrase for searching. For example: "thief in the night"
  • * at the end of a term signifies a prefix query. For example: amat*. This returns all tokens starting with "amat", such as "amatoria" and "amatorum".
  • ( and ) signify precedence. For example: shoe (boot)
  • ~num after a word signifies edit distance (fuzziness). For example: shoe~1. This returns all tokens that differ in one character from "shoe", such as "she" and "shot".
  • ~num after a phrase signifies slop amount. For example: "in the night"~1. This returns all phrases that differ in one token from "in the night", such as "drunk in the night" and "songs in the night".

For Greek searches there is the option to search by form or by lemma.

Search results can be filtered by text group. Each result states its origin, i.e. its place in a work. Click on a result to go to the text and see the phrase you searched for in context.

Search results can also be filters by type of work version, i.e. edition, translation, or commentary.

The Text Search in the left panel in the viewer works in the same way. However, this only searches all texts of the text group you're reading, whereas the generic search covers the entire library.

The library allows readers to browse by text group, work, and version. It also has the table of contents of a work (if it has one; not all works do). Browsing the library follows a work's logical structure, as expressed and indicated by the identifiers.

The reader allows users to follow the same structure, within a work. The Res Gestae for example, is one work, consisting of 18 (extant) books, each with about a dozen chapters, each with multiple sections. The logical structure of this work is therefore work-chapter-section, to which phrase can be added as a further level (see the Highlight widget).

The field Passage Reference in the left panel in the viewer allows readers to see which passage is currently displayed in in the viewer, and to navigate to another passages, when this has been entered in the field.

The field above, Ancestors, also gives the logical structure, and allows for navigation by mouse click.

Thirdly, there are vertical bars (which highlight when you hover over them) that tell you where you are. These also allow for on-click navigation.

Lastly, there are arrows in the center panel in the viewer, that allow readers to navigate to previous and next passages.


To log-in with user name and password, click on the log-in button in the menu bar and enter your user name and password.

Brill Scholarly Editions supports IP recognition.

More questions? Please contact us at, putting "Scholarly Editions" in the subject line.