State and prospects of accessibility of medieval and early modern town books

State and prospects of accessibility of medieval and early modern town books. Scientific conference, Ústí nad Labem, 30 – 31 October 2008. It was organized by the Department of History at Philosophical Faculty JEPU in Ústí nad Labem in cooperation with the Department of Auxiliary Historical Sciences and Archival Studies at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague and the Prague City Archives.

On the 30 and 31 October 2008 Philosophical fakulty JEPU in Ústí nad Labem held the international conference aiming at finding out the state and accessibility of town books from Middle Ages and Early Modern Times in central European context. The main organizer of the event was the local Department of History  with its Head  Michaela Hrubá.

Participation of experts on given issues was truly representative as there took part both Czech and foreign experts dealing with study and editions of town books ( at the conference participated researchers from Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia ). The conference  was also attended by a large number of other historians and archivists from Czech institutions, who deal with preparation of editions,too.  Actual agenda was opened by the main organizer PhDr. Michaela Hrubá, PhD. who outlined basic objectives of the conference, and introduced the hosting department: She presented the project Libri Civitatis aiming at the registering and accessibility of town books which has been implemented here since the year of 2004. Afterwards she emphasised a connection between the issue of accessibility of town resources and history of towns and reminded a  long tradition of urban research in Czech historiography. She also mentioned development in recent years when an interest in urban research in Czech historiography has not been quite systematic and frequent.

After the introduction  Ludmila Sulitková (JEPU, Ústí nad Labem) continued the program of the conference. In her paper Stav a perspektivy zpřístupňování městských knih v českých zemích  she focused on the history of interest in town books in our country and she pointed out that the interest in accessibility of town books in the form of editions significantly varies according to the period of their origin. The interest in town books from the period of  Early Modern Times has been in our historiography much weaker than the interest in  town books from the period of Middle Ages. However even percentage of medieval books that have been made accessible through editions since the  middle of the 19 century does not reach more than 10% of the whole preserved amount.  At first sight this state of things does not seem to be favorable, the presenter nevertheless said that any potential effort to make available the greatest possible number of town books regardless  their quality would not be effective and would not even meet the needs of historical research. Therefore she also indicated the  directions which should editorial work take in the future. She expressed her belief that only books with exceptional historical information value should deserve thorough critical editions. In contrast, other books, especially of a serial nature (e.g. books of financial administration) should be made available through so called bulk edition, involving more books of the same kind at once with exhaustive name and particularly subject indexes referring to the content of individual sections. The presenter suggested more appropriate way of work with books of juridical nature which would be to create directly registers from their records instead of laborious transcription of original records . Since current technologies enable the editing itself, for “knowledgeable ones” an attached digital copy could substitute the original manuscript ( the copy should  be attached to all editions today anyway).  For the modern period she stressed the need to continue in the list of town books according to particular archives, which should be one of the main tasks of the hosting department in terms of already mentioned project Libri Civitatis.

Another presenter, Peter Johanek  (Institut für vergleichende Stadtgeschichte, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster) presented  a paper Přehled vývoj a perspektivy výzkumu městských knih ve Spolkové republice Německo. He introduced the audience into the state of research of this distinctive type of resource in Germany from its beginning in the middle of the 19 century, when the main interest in study of this resource had legal-historical motives. In the beginning of the 20 century appeared the first attempts to carry out more intensive research of town books and their categorization relating to new recognition that they are extremely rich and varied resources.  In closer inspection it is evident that approximately since the 14 century there was growing differentiation of town books in kinds of agendas. Municipal offices were far from being content with recording important issues in a single book of miscellaneous matters which still  in many places represented the primary type of the official book kept by the town. The presenter also pointed out that in current research more attention has been paid to town books from Northern and North-eastern areas than from southern part, which means there is still a lot to research. In Germany with about 2000 localities of urban type, it is hardly possible to consider keeping complex records or at least concise diplomatic and content assessment of all preserved town books in near future.  In this respect the research was more intensive in the regions of former East Germany where centralized project (managed by Reinhard Kluge) registered 21.000 volumes of books from Middle Ages and Early Modern Times from about 450 cities/towns.  In addition P.Johanek indicated what direction currently takes  revived interest in study and the process of accessibility of town books in united Germany ( recently it is making entries in books  in general).  Finally he emphasized the necessity and benefit of international cooperation in this field of historical research.

The first block was ended by the paper of Herbert Knittler  (Universität Wien) Möglichkeiten Stand und der Erschließung Städtischer Rechnungsbücher in Österreich (15 to 16 Jh. ( presented by a deputy)  H. Knitller stressed that he himself  at Vienna university about a decade ago participated in the formation of the project of in-depth study of financial books of particularly Upper and Lower Austrian cities/towns of the Middle Ages and Early ModernTimes. Its purpose was to register rules of period financial practice but also to detect changes in the structure of urban economy in the turn of Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. He reminded that in the period of Modern Times new financial offices with their own cash register were arising which relativizes effectiveness of an effort to make these “component” books accessible by classical methods.  In his opinion it would therefore be useful to systematically digitize at least the early modern town books, which would enable a brief exchange of acquired  data on-line in area of central Europe at least. (similar exchange to already implemented Project Monasterium).

The next block of the conference opened Richard Marsina (Trnava university in Trnava) with the contribution  Stredoveké mestské knihy na Slovensku . He pointed out the fact that Upper Hungary which meant the territory of today Slovakia made the most urbanized part of the former Hungarian Kingdom ( with privileged tavernical towns and prosperous mining towns). No wonder that numerous medieval preserved town books  we have had come from this territory. Among them we can find the most important books from Bratislava, Trnava, Košice and Banská Štiavnica. He paid attention to the differentiation of town books and stressed the need to make accessible such books whose historical value is exceptional. So it was quite useful that his colleague from the University of Trnava Vladimír Rábik could talk about particular editions of Trnava town books. He introduced the edition of the book of income of Trnava parish from the end of the 15 century kept by the town, which he released in the year of 2006 and also long-awaited edition of the oldest Trnava town book originated in the 90ś of the 14 century, published by the presenter at the end of the year of 2008.  Since Sborník archivních prací brings  more  detailed paper on this edition, we limit ourselves to emphasizing the fact that the methodology applied by Vladimír Rábik meets the highest demands for editorial work  because apart from the edition itself with  thorough scientific and information apparatus it also provides exhaustive objective and diplomatic evaluation of the resource.

Following paper Stadtbücher, Rechtsbücher und Gerichtsbücher: Handschriften in slowakischen Archiven by Ilpo Tapani Piirainen (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster) was  devoted to Slovak town books as well.  The presenter is certainly known to the  broad research community as an established editor of mainly the oldest books  from Slovakia. Although his interest in availability of the texts is primarily linguistic, his careful editions enable universal historical use of edited resources (for example the presenter himself dealt with the influence of the Magdeburg law on formation of the collection of urban laws. In Piirainenś view town court books should be systematically studied as well because they bring evidence of live legal practices of that time.

The next presenter , the editor of Głubczyce law book Winfried Irgang (Herder-Institut, Philipps-Universität Marburg) brought the audience to the environment of Silesia with his paper Stadtbücher in Schlesien. Although in his opinion it is obvious that town books from this area would contribute to clarification of trends in historical development in Silesian principalities (when the concept of Silesia itself is ambiguou in the resources), the level of urban historiography and especially the level of editorial work are far from satisfactory . This complaint adds to awareness of irretrievable losses of local resources due to events of the Second World War. W. Irgang presented his ideas about the stages of the necessary project of systematic study of town books in cities/towns of different categories ( from big cities like Wroclaw, through medium size towns such as Głogów, Legnica, Nisa and Svidnice to small but numerous localities). Overall that would mean a survey of  papers of urban nature in at least 150 localities, on the basis of which it would be possible to make more definite conclusion about the development of local towns.  In the first phase the project would have to involve thorough research of relevant libraries and archives funds,  including, of course, the Provincial Archives in Opava. In this way Czech historians have a great opportunity to cooperate with their foreign colleagues.

The second block ended with the contribution Revize soupisu městských knih českých do roku 1526 a jeho rozšíření do roku 1620. Limity vydávání městských knih a pravidla jejich editaceby Ivana Ebelová ( Faculty of Arts, CU Prague). As the co-applicant of the above  mentioned project Libri Civitatis she specified methodological procedures that should be in the near future applied in terms of revision of already known list of Czech medieval town books  but especially within continuation of this list for the period of Early Modern Times. The register will be in a form of electronic database, whose data will be continually added.

Afternoon part, focused more on particular  regions or individual cities/towns,  began Ivan Hlaváček ( Faculty of Arts, CU Prague) with the more general paper Městské kopiáře ve středověku a raném novověku.  It is well known that town cartularies serve for researchers as a very important resource of information about papers received by towns/ cities which may not long be preserved as originals. He pointed out information from academic  literature about the fact that while the older books of this kind, forming shortly after submission of such paper documents, served as a "repository of rights" of a particular city/town, younger books were kept primarily due to registration aspects. This categorization at the same time highlights the importance of cartularies for historical research – while younger cartularies are important almost entirely  in terms of their  contents, older ones provide besides the content also additional information about period municipal administration, about awareness of legal importance of accepted documents and thus the respect for their preservation in period registers ( archives). However in Czech conditions it took relatively long time before required number of privileges worthy of transcription had accumulated in particular towns/cities.  Here I. Hlaváček  reminded that from the pre-Hussite period are known two such attempts from the towns of  different levels, namely from the town of Kadaň and Old Town, Prague ( in fact it means two books here: Liber vetustissimus  and Liber vetustissimus privilegiorum), in which we already may see the tendency for its next development leading to transcription of main documents for long lasting memory into so called memorial books.

Following paper  Stand und der Perspektiven Stadtbucherschließung im Stadtarchiv Braunschweig  was presented by Henning Steinführer  ( Braunschweig Stadtarchiv) who in recent years has made available editions of Weimar books from the period of late Middle Ages and Leipzig town council books from the last decades of the 15 century. H. Steinfürer as an expert on the funds which he administers talked about  the situation concerning preservation of town books in Braunschweig archives (the oldest books are from the late 60s of the 13th century) and also about prospects of future editorial work. Totally in agreement with the initial contribution he stated that only books of exceptional information value are necessary to be made accessible in classical editions while for other kinds of books ( e.g. books of testaments )  it would be better if their contents were interpreted directly by making registers of their records with addition of sophisticated  subject entries. He also emphasized the need of lists and availability of basic data about books, including their codicological description on Internet. The involved audience must then be really pleased with methodological similarity with our projects.

Next presentation was given by Mgr. Marcin Grulkowski (Instytut Historii  Polskiej Akademii Nauk im. Tadeusza Manteuffla, Pracownia Historii Gdanska i Dziejou Morskich Polsku, Gdansk)  named Die ältesten Stadtbücher Hauptstadt Gdańsk der auf der Basis von der Kanzleisystemen Hansestädten im 14th und im 15th Jahrhundert.  The presenter focused on defining differences and similarities of office systems in the Capital of Gdansk and other Hanseatic cities in the period of  late Middle Ages. Generally it is agreed that originally miscellaneous town council books only gradually diversified into books of particular agendas.  M. Grulkowksi  pointed out three basic models of approaches to the written form of certain types of records  in various cities of Germany. It is well known that in the cities  such as Cologne, Hamburg and Reval there were already in the first stage of existence of municipal administration bodies established land registers as the most important types of books. In contrast, the third of the identified models, in fact the one that corresponds to the general tendency, applied  in the majority of examined Hanseatic cities. (Göttingen, Lübeck, Stralsund, Rostock, Kiel, Schwerin and others.).  On the basis of his thorough knowledge of local town books the presenter said that in the Imperial City of Gdansk and some other Hanseatic cities existed  since the mid-14th century also mentioned land registers or eventually other specialized books. In land registers he also found out for the period of  Middle Ages  rare occurrence of the type of books with so called real folios for each piece of real estates.

Another contribution dealing with the area of the north of Central Europe was the paper concerning the city of Riga by Matthias Thumser  (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Berlin) Die Amtsbücher im Archiv der der Compagnie zu Schwarzenberg Häupter Riga. As the title suggests, the presenter introduced a distinctive type of books of local business company, completely unknown in Czech conditions.  By presenting  results of a thorough analysis of the records in these books he convincingly proved the continuity of this specific agenda with period municipal administration in Lithuanian capital.

The final fourth block of the  first day began with the contribution by Jaroslava Mendelová  (Prague City Archives) typically named Zpřístupňování městských knih v Archivu hlavního města Prahy  ( the paper presented by a deputy).  J. Mendelová pointed out the long  tradition of systematic recording of town books of original Prague towns in the local archives. At the same time she introduced the audience in the project of modern cataloging, whose results have been entered in specialized electronic database in last years. The Prague City Archives  is besides the  Brno City Archives, whose funds of town books are comparable in terms of volume with Prague funds, one of our main archives institution consistently cataloging funds of town books. In contrast there exist only few editions of Prague town books so far.

Next two contributions focused on a special category of town books – financial books and their availability- closed the first intensive day of the conference.  Hana Jordánová (Brno City Archives) and Ludmila Sulitková  explained in their  common paper called Možnosti edičního zpřístupnění brněnských finančních knih  the present state and prospects of this work. Involved professionals are certainly aware that the Brno City Archives have published in the last few years several seemingly small but  in terms of their contents “ necessary” volumes of  editions of local financial ( numerical) town books by the editor L. Sulitková. These editions made available a wide range of books identical in their contents from the period of Middle Ages and Early Modern Times until the year of 1619.  This so called bulk edition, whose main principles the presenter already mentioned in her introductory paper, must of course, be supplemented by thorough name and subject indexes ( in case of Brno books for each codicologic unit are stated also results of complex paleographic analysis of local town  books). In presenters´opinion this type of edition represents one of possible "functional " models for editions of town books containing structured data of accounting character. The Brno City Archives stores more books of this category such as taxing books of which only some part from the mid 14 century have been made available through editions. The presenters expressed their idea of continuing the process of editing books from the period of Early  Modern Times in a way that it would be in agreement with the rules applied in editions published so far  including already mentioned  bulk edition.

The final presentation was given by Janus Tandecki  (Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń). In his paper Mittelalterliche Finanz-und Rechnungsbücher der Alten Stadt Thorn und ihre Editionen  he drew attention to the richness in variety of kinds of local town books. In the past editors already took interest in particularly financial ( numerical) calculation books. Quite in compliance with the period approach to editions the interest in publishing the results of scientific review was not in the lead. This approach obviously cannot meet today requirements for the level of editorial work. It is therefore satisfying that J.Tandecki as one of the authors (along with M. Thumser) of amended editorial rules for issuing resources from Baltic region could also report about the revived interest in the series of Toruńfinancial books and their gradual editing within the publication series Resources on History of Medieval Toruń. J. Tandecki paid detailed attention to individual rules applied in editions.( it was apparent that Polish practice similarly to Hungarian practice differ from Czech one in using some rules e.g. different use of various types of brackets).

After undoubtedly challenging day of conference the participants enjoyed the evening at the castle Krásné Březno . The next day they again concentrated on further distinctive types of town official books and on specific remarks about “traps” waiting for editors in a form of various kinds of entries in original resources and their appropriate interpretation in editions.

The fifth block of the program opened  Wolfgang Wüst  (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Nürnberg-Erlangen) with the paper Ratsmandate und städtische Policey - eine editorische Herausforderung. It is surprising that although the council mandates and so called  police orders contain innumerable data usable and useful for broader historical interpretation, these resources have not deserved in Europe much attention yet. In recent years the situation in Germany has been significantly changing in this respect – thus could W. Wüst mention a worthy critical review of central imperial police orders of the 16 century, written by Matthias Weber and he also presented a systematic project of repertory of these orders, implemented recently by the Max-Planck Institute in Frankfurt am Main which concerns both imperial and Swiss cities/towns  (Frankfurt am Main, Cologne am Rhine, Zurich, Bern, Ulm, Nuremberg, Augsburg and others.). Apart from his series of edition W. Wüst, himself, contributed to clarification of so called good police policy as an instrumentof municipal order  in medieval towns with a critical review of  Nuremberg council orders from the mid-15 century from Nuremberg and the area ofSwabia, Bavaria and Franconia which he as well made available (in 4 volumes).

Petr Kreuz ( Prague City Archives) in his paper, rich in content, called Stav a perspektivy vydávání smolných knih a příbuzných pramenů k dějinám hrdelního soudnictví v českých zemích  drew audienceś  attention  to the issue of misfortune books as the resource helping to clarify criminal law practices. He pointed out the fact that so called misfortune books  ( also called black, blood books) have become recently the most frequently published resource from Early Modern period ( not necessarily of a town character). The reasons are obvious:  it is possible to make good use of their records in the study of functioning of the system of capital crime justice and in better understanding to criminality as a part of legal and social history. At the same time the records refer to history of everyday life, history of mentalities and thinking, history of social communication etc. Their editors should be, however, aware of the fact that according to their content, according to the way of keeping records and also the period of their origin we distinguish two basic groups of misfortune books  - older ones originating approximately until the middle of the 17 century and then newer books originating before the issue of penal codes in the last quarter of the 18th century.  P. Kreuz assessed the level of existing editions, after that he considered future prospects of editing and also making accessible the books of verdicts of Prague appelate court which are generally considered  as complementary resources. With respect to the development of the appelate court and introduction of so called accusation process by town courts, in which it was possible to appeal, we have to keep in mind that the cases heard in so called inquisitorial proceedings were entered in this kind of resource not before the last quarter of the 17 century. The presenter further talked about categorization of these books at books of clean copies and drafts of verdicts (called verdict manuals). In his opinion the form of so called extended regesta edition is the most suitable for accessibility of books of verdicts.

This paper was suitably followed by the contribution of a young researcher Klára Woitschová- Kučerová  ( Faculty of Art, CU Prague) and further in their common paper  Romana  Kmochová and Petra Paterová. ( both are students at Factulty of Arts, CU Prague) The first presenter in her typically called contribution Edice nebo databáze? Ortelní manuály jako komplementární pramen k poznání raně novověkého městského soudnictví   focused on possibilities of accessibility of Czech and German verdict manuals and pleaded for special databases instead of classical editions. Next two participants  presented the contribution  Problémy spojené se  zpřístupňováním soudních knih na příkladu královských měst Louny a Slaný v raném novověku ( this is a preparation of editions of these books from the turn of the16 and 17 century)  This common contribution clearly enough showed that an editor must take into account the character of preserved town books.  Therefore while it was necessary to choose a form of full text edition for the book of Slaný due to its extraordinary information value,  it was more appropriate to make direct regesta of each of entries for the book of conscience from the same period.

The fifth block of the program was closed by Katalin Szende (Central European University, Budapest) by a paper produced together with her colleague  Judith Majorossy titled Stadtbücher in mittelalterlichen ungarischen Städten (mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Protocollum Testamentorum Pressburger. The paper mainly focused on books of inqusitorial justice.  Also this paper was based on upcoming editorial intention of the presenters ( both were represented at the conference by K. Szende) which is to make accessible the oldest Bratislava book of testaments originated already at the end of the 20ś in the 15 century and containing about 900 records of testaments of local burghers. K. Szende talked about the development of the competences of municipal offices concerning  making entries of important legal proceedings of both towns as the whole and also their individual inhabitants. She pointed out that conditions for fully autonomous function of municipal offices as an executive bodies of municipal administration were forming in the Hungarian Kingdom not sooner than after the 60ś of the 14 century.  At this point we could remind that K.Szende has been in long run dealing with the issue of Hungarian ( which means also Slovak ) towns in the period of Middle Ages and Early Modern Times and that it is due to her that the series of edition was renewed. In this series the oldest town books of Šoproń are systematically made accessible (see the collected paper in this issue of SAP) .

The following presenters who commenced the next block of the conference, namely Jens Klinger and Robert Mund ( both from Stadtarchiv Dresden)  continued with the common paper  Die Dresdner Altendresdner Stadtbücher - Spiegel im Lebens städtischen Spätmittelalter. They brought forward their concrete findings from the process of making accessible medieval books. In this case they dealt with the original books of Dresden and Old Dresden  ( today it is a suburb on the other bank of the river Elbe) also considering the development of local municipal administration bodies. It is interesting that in both towns, administrative structures, as well as the town books, were established quite later in comparison with other areas. From the period of  Middle Ages ( exactly the years 1412 – 1537) there are seven preserved Dresden books and two Old Dresden books from the period 1412 – 1528. All these books will be shortly made accessible in modern editions. While the first three Dresden books were published in 2007  ( including the revised edition of the oldest book edited already in the 60ś of the 20 century by Elisabeth Boer  and  the reconstruction of the second book, destroyed during the WWII on the basis of its older transcription) , the edition of further two books ( see the review of I.Hlaváček in Archivní časopis  2009) could have been published already at the end of the year of 2008 owing to the common effort of J.Klinger and R.Mund ( who were introduced into editorial work by the Professor Jörg Oberst from Regensburg University and the director of the Dresden City Archive Thomas Kübler). Also other volumes of both Dresden books and Old Dresden books have found their editor so they could be soon expected  at the book market.

The next contribution Soudní knihy středověkých měst v ediční praxi – minulost s budoucností?  was given by Jan Mareš from the State Regional Archives in Litomeřice, organizational unit state District Archives  Louny).  The presenter,an outstanding expert on town books of the royal town of Louny  and especially the local court books, first talked -  as L.Sulitková  did  in the introductory paper – about the current state of accessibility of Czech town books  and in the next part of his contribution he dealt with the prospects ( and usefulness) of editorial work.  It is necessary to ask a question "cui bono" that is closely related to effectiveness of chosen procedures. These should not be definitely based on a strenuous effort to re-write preserved archival wealth. When considering its usability by future generations, things like making quality protective and study digital copies using indexing programs must be taken into account. Mareš´s  contribution corresponded with already stated opinions of some foreign colleagues ( Johanek, Knittler, Steinführer and others) because this way would also enable prompt exchange of information on-line in the future.

The contribution  Was ist aus dem städtischen Schriftverkehr in die Stadtbücher gelangt? (Am Beispiel spätmittelalterlicher und frühneuzeitlicher Stadtbücher Ödenburgs) given by János Néméth (Univerzity Veszprém) was about  the proces of accessibility of town books in the area of western Hungary.  Negative question asked in the title of the contribution is provoking –on the basis of system analysis of preserved books of the city of Šoproň and  other complementary resources of urban character J.Néméth actually tried to find out what legal deeds and events from the period life were not entered in the books. As he is perfectly aware of the fact that keeping records in particular towns considerably varied, he knows that the results of his research cannot serve as generally accepted assumption. They are however important due to the fact that  they can clarify possibilities of reconstruction of content and forms of urban „ Schriftlichkeit“ and consequently provide answer for some relating questions about the character of the  period legal atmosphere.  For specific Néméthś editorial work, especially recently published Šoproň court book from the years 1423 – 1531 see collected review in this issue of Sborník archivních prací.

Then followed the inspiring contribution by Martin Štindl (Moravian Provincial Archives in Brno, organizational unit State District Archives Žďár nad Sázavou) named Míra ediční interpretace. He based it on his experience with preparation of edition of a Baroque chronicle from Velké Meziříčí. He found three answers for a key question about  an objective degree of editorś intepretations. Methodological variability and adaptation of methods with respect to the character of a resource definitely mean a creative process with each edition. The author acts at the same time as a historian and he/she should primarily consider the resource with respect to historical continuity.  Degree of editorial interpretation then depends on authorś personal individuality and mainly on subjectivity of the resource itself.

Another inspiring contribution leading to reflection on the adequacy of editorś procedures was a paper by Hana Pátková  ( Faculty of Arts, CU Prague)  called Proměny zápisů a proměny funkce některých středověkých městských knih v průběhu jejich vedení – problém volby vhodného edičního zpřístupnění.   The presenter could profit from her rich experience with editorial work which was mainly older editing of Old Town tax book from the 30ś of the 14 century and especially currrently prepared edition of our oldest town book which is the Old Town Liber vetustissimus.  Firstly she pointed out problems editors might meet, caused by gradual changes of the subject resources, numerousadditional inscriptions, specific ways of deletions or eventually an effort of period scribes to produce some tabular assessment of e.g. figures . The editor therefore  faces a challenge to recognize various  intrigues and to communicate the whole issue in a suitable and understandable way to its  future users.

The Martíneks  pointed out similar problems they have met when they have  prepared editions of selected particular things from the fund of the town of Pelhřimov.  Zdeněk Martínek  (Moravian Provincial Archives in Brno, the organizational unit of the State District Archives Pelhřimov) in his paper named Liber memorabilium města Pelhřimova z let 1643 – 1761 – několik poznámek k edičnímu zpracováníoutlinedquestions arising during preparation of an forthcoming edition of the book interesting in content, which is a memorial book of a former bishopric and since the year of 1598 royal town. He stressed that especially public records, contained in the examined memorial book, deserve special attention of both editors and historians of Pelhřimov as they vividly reflect fundamental changes in development of the royal town in conditions of gradually strengthening absolutism. The book e.g. involves records of riots among serfs and inhabitants of the town revealing conflict issues in the world of burghers. Although the book dates in the younger period, it undoubtedly represents an extraordinary resource of information on history of the town and as such it deserves complex editing.

A complementary contribution called Městské knihy do roku 1600 na Pelhřimovsku a možnosti jejich edičního zpracování, se zvláštním zřetelem k nejstarší pelhřimovské městské knize (1417 – 1575) was given by Lenka Martínková  ( Faculty of Philosophy, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice), who focused on the older period and pointed out the necessity to make accessible especially the oldest book of Pelhřimov and possibly also books of some other town in the large region. In the archives of the town Pelhřimov there are stored 14 preserved town books ( except Pelhřimov  the books are from Hořepník, Pacov, Počátek, Kamenice nad Lipou, Černovice, Lukavec and Žirovnice), mostly from the period of Modern Times. Of these books diverse by nature only exceptional law book of Kamenice from the years 1462-1579 has been published in modern edition   (complete edition named Právaa privilegia městaKamenice nad Lipou1462-1798 was prepared and in the year 2004 published by Irena Kročilová, Zd. Martínek a L. Martínková).  Currently the team in Pelhřimov Archives have been working on edition of so called book of Pelhřimov farm and the second oldest Pelhřimov town book. Variability of resources, that would be necessary to make accessible for  wider research community, almost urges to combine classical editorial methods ( i.e. accessibility of records in extenso or in a form of regesta) with digitally made copies of the original text or possibly a resultant as a facsimile edition.

Although the program of the conference was very demanding, there still remained time  enough for a free exchange of ideas in the discussion that followed after individual blocks and then at the end of the conference. By and large, editors´ experience with accessibility of town books from the period of Middle Ages and Early Modern Times in the broader space of central Europe ( in terms of language the books are mainly in Latin and German) are in spite of differences in ways of book keeping and covered issues in particular towns similar.  Although in particular countries we may find different methods of application of certain editorial rules ( brackets, principles of transcription or transliteration, etc.), participants of the conference basically agreed on the opinion that classical form of editions should be in the future used only for those books which are exceptional in terms of their content. These editions will certainly be in the future regularly supplemented with digital copies. Technological possibilities of the modern age could substitute laborious editing of original records especially in case of minor books (or books, where is primarily important to capture briefly a factual aspect of their records such as financial books, law books etc.).  Many of editor´s troubles are caused by technical changes in texts, inscriptions, deletions and other adjustments.  However, it is beyond any doubt that the main emphasis would have to be placed on creation of a thorough name and subject indexes in fact as a separate type of edition. Supplement of digital copies, in fact the facsimiles of originals, should not cause any difficulties to “paleograhically literate” users (  and the others will hardly use these editions), quite on the contrary it should significantly help with their work with a  text. ( possibility of zooming to poorly readable parts etc.)  It is very likely that even preparation of editions of town books needs much closer cooperation with IT specialists.

It was satisfying to find out that opinions and suggestions of experts from neighboring countries in general issues of current editorial work fully correspond with the principles applied in the above mentioned project Libri civitatis at Ústí University. Further possibilities for exchanging opinions have been offered  at electronic conference that was set up after the conference itself and which enables an ongoing discussion of those who took part in the conference.

Michaela Hrubá - Ludmila Sulitková - Vilém Zábranský

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