Here at BAND, we’re deep into proofreading a batch of Blake’s letters that are currently being prepared for publication. The large amount of different objects (over thirty letters) means that everyone on the team has been involved in the process and so we have been recording any questions and discrepancies that we note on a shared Google doc. As I discussed in a post a few weeks ago, the term “proofreading” at BAND means a lot more that the word usually suggests, and this current project provides some good working examples of this part of the process.

Aside from the usual typos or queries about punctuation or tagging, we still encounter transcription questions at this late stage that we need to consider as a group. For example, Andrea noticed an instance where the word “of” actually seems to be composed of an overwritten ampersand that has had an “f” tacked onto it, letting the loop of the ampersand stand for the “o” in “of”.


Hardeep also questioned the transcription of the letter “a” of “affectionately”, wondering if it is lower rather than upper case. Though this seems like a minor observation, it would affect whether or not we include a note that explains the readings of our standard references. 

While correcting a typo or making a blanket decision about how to describe the postmarks that appear on the outside of each letter is often straightforward, transcription questions are much less clear cut, especially given our commitment to “transcribe what you see”.