Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 253–270

Article: Collating Texts Using Progressive Multiple Alignment

  • Matthew Spencer
  • Christopher Howe

DOI: 10.1007/s10579-004-8682-1

Cite this article as:
Spencer, M. & Howe, C. Computers and the Humanities (2004) 38: 253. doi:10.1007/s10579-004-8682-1


To reconstruct a stemma or do any other kind of statistical analysis of a text tradition, one needs accurate data on the variants occurring at each location in each witness. These data are usually obtained from computer collation programs. Existing programs either collate every witness against a base text or divide all texts up into segments as long as the longest variant phrase at each point. These methods do not give ideal data for stemma reconstruction. We describe a better collation algorithm (progressive multiple alignment) that collates all witnesses word by word without a base text, adding groups of witnesses one at a time, starting with the most closely related pair.

dynamic programming multiple alignment stemma reconstruction text collation variants 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Spencer
    • 1
  • Christopher Howe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsDalhousie UniversityNova ScotiaCanada

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