There was a lot of great discussion at the June 2015 Digital Latin Library seminar about what the digital critical apparatus could be.
Since our discussions, I’ve been experimenting with different designs to provide users with the ability to experience the critical apparatus in different ways. In additional to a traditional apparatus at the end of the page or text, we can also provide traditional apparatus notes in a pop-up box when a user hovers over the lemma in question. But I still think this is pretty traditional and under utilizes one of the best possibilities latent in the digital media, namely the sense of infinite space, which should allow an editor to be verbose and transparent. This stands in contrast to the printed codex which demands from the editor economy, thrift, and often cryptic abbreviation.
In this demo I am experimenting with the ways that the critical apparatus could be seen as a special kind of commentary, in which the editor can annotate, at length, every apparatus entry. Here the editor can not only explain and spell out what the abbreviated critical note says, but she can explain why she chose this reading over others. Likewise, she can explain, again at length, complicated idiosyncrasies that are relevant to the reading. These are valuable pieces of information that a printed text cannot always include because of the limits space. The digital medium, in contrast, due to its dynamic and elastic nature can find a place for these valuable notes.
Please see the demo below and please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or feedback.