Today I got my hands on a paper read at the SBL by R.A. Koivisto from Multnomah Bible College, Portland, Oregon. The title of the paper is "Special Morphological Tagging Requirements for Individual Greek Manuscripts" and was read in the Accordance Scholar's Session. The paper is available from the Accordance website here.
Koivisto has been working for two years with morphologically tagging Codices Vaticanus and Bezae for OakTree Software's Accordance for Mac. The goal is an "electronic representation of an ancient manuscript as a module for Accordance software." This representation is an approximation. The real power, as Koivisto describes it, is that the MS will be morphologically tagged and by this means it can be "evaluated and searched according to lexical grammatical information, and ... quickly compared to other MSS in the collection." (It is not clear exactly which MSS will be in the "collection.")
Koivisto has worked from the transcriptions of Tischendorf (Vaticanus) and Scrivener (Bezae), as well as from photographic images (not stated which facsimiles/images). He has used a specially developed uncial Greek font, "Sylvanus" to represent the MSS. One of the reasons for having one single standardized uncial Greek font is that it enables an easier visual comparison between MSS (and this is of course much less complicated in every respect). This font also enables representation of a few ligatures; Koivisto mentions "the line-ending NU overstrike," "the KAI ligature" (only one of the most common) and "the MOU ligature." This limitation is of course a major drawback in my opinion. Either all ligatures in an MS should be represented, or else none. Moreover, Koivisto states that he has not generally recorded corrections. However, in Bezae, "when there are letters or words squeezed into the text" he has included that text within parenthesis, if he was not sure that it was "the original hand doing a 'self-correct'." As for spelling errors, two tags has been used: the first for the "ad sensum," i.e. what the form likely represents, and the second tag for what is actually written.
Some of these procedures, especially that of omitting most corrections, seem to be too arbitrary, especially from the perspective of the text-critic, but also for the exegete in general, who will run the risk of missing important information.
In sum, the goal of Koivisto (and Accordance) expressed as "making textual criticism workable at a new and interesting level" is only partly achieved in the first version of the electronic MSS collection, judging from this paper. I have not evaluated the actual software, although I note that Vaticanus (GNT-VAT) was realesed on November 26 (Bezae seems not have appeared yet). However, Kovisto (and Accordance I presume) welcomes feedback from "careful users," so hopefully this new tool can be improved in the future. Otherwise, the best (and free) tool thus far when it comes to MS comparison is of course the NT transcript prototype and the related digital Nestle-Aland from the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (see the links section on the right sidebar). These tools, however, have no morphological tagging.
Update: Both modules with Vaticanus (GNT-VAT) and Bezae (GNT-BEZ) are available from Accordance; GNT-VAT $60 and GNT-BEZ $40 (more on www.accordancebible.com). In a comment to this posts Danny Zacharias informs us that several other items of interest for textual criticism are available in the Accordance scholars collection.