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BAND

BAND, XML

Laocoön and Languages

At least twice in the last month or so, I have found myself transcribing an object that contains writing in a language other than English. Both times I was told that the best way to find out how to handle the foreign language text would be to find an earlier instance of an object with such text on it and look at the BAD file for that object. Laocoön has become the go-to source when I go looking for a precedent for transcription of foreign language text.

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BAND

A Little Slack

The Blake Archive Northern Division, up here in Rochester, met yesterday with our full complement of new and returning members. More than a dozen people! How did that happen?

Well, it probably happened because we generally smell good, don’t bite, and Morris often regales the group with tales of his culinary adventures. In any event, numbers are up, and quite significantly. And this presents new challenges of coordination and communication. You can probably see where this is going…

The Blake Archive group in Rochester is now on Slack.

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BAND

Macro Blake

This summer I attended DHSI at U Victoria, a trip made possible through the support of the Mellon Fellowship in DH here at UR. I had the great fortune to take James O’Sullivan’s course on Computation and Literary Criticism. (I also had the great fortune to eat at Red Fish Blue Fish, like, four times in five days.)

As one could guess, we learned a lot about distant reading and macroanlytic approaches to literary study, focusing on the technological pragmatics. So: we messed around in RStudio, creating stylometric cluster dendrograms; we dumped huge corpuses into Voyant Tools; we experimented with an open source Topic Modeling app (and talked about how mathematically insane topic modeling is).

The Blake Archive, of course, contains a trove of text that’s easily mineable from the backend. (Our tech editor Mike Fox emailed me plain text files of all Archive transcriptions for my experimenting.) Here are a couple of results from those experiments:

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BAND, Digital Humanities, Uncategorized

Why we should be talking more: office chat and DH

When I look back over many of the most recent blog posts—Rachel’s about how to use notes with a sense of audience, Oishani’s about Blake’s quirky punctuation, my own about the differences between red wax seals and wafers, and other posts from the past several months—I am not surprised to realize that many of these posts began in the William Blake Archive office as informal conversations about digital editing. I remember Oishani asking my input about how to encode a period under a superscript, and I recall spending the better part of an hour with Laura and Lisa discussing why and how we decide that a letter is sealed by wax or wafer. These conversations are illustrative of one of the greatest benefits of digital humanities projects: the opportunity to collaborate and work with a team of scholars from a variety of backgrounds.

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BAND, Uncategorized

Focusing on Audience: How Notes can Help!

Recently, Oishani posted about the different choices scholars have made in their transcriptions of the “quirky” punctuation in Blake’s receipts. Currently, the protocol has been to attach a note to the specific line of the transcription in which these punctuation discrepancies occur. However, as Oishani points out, though Bentley and Keynes do not treat punctuation systematically, we still have many nearly identical notes about minute differences in punctuation. What is the importance in noting these differences? Should we focus on punctuation in the receipts on a larger scale? Oishani ends her post asking us to consider if it would be more useful to have individual notes on each of the receipts, or to have a set of notes that covers the entire set of receipts and discusses recurring issues like punctuation in detail?

 

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BAND, Uncategorized

The “Manual” Humanities

One of the things we’ve been endlessly debating in our Team Marginalia meetings has been how to “categorize” the various kinds of inscription we’ve found in our examples of Blake’s annotated books. And this is not to mention the ongoing conversation about how to handle text on the page that is not by Blake, such as the original work itself or editorial apparatus such as page numbers. In an attempt to halt the merry-go-round that these related discussions have become, we tried a new approach at our last meeting, one that we might even call “The Manual Humanities.”

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BAND, XML

Four Zoas: In the Zone

The past few weeks have seen considerable progress in the development of our revised Four Zoas schema. As we expand our sample set of objects, we’re testing our XML structure in new situations and uncovering new complications. The good news: our <stage> approach to modeling layered revisions in the manuscript has held up well when applied to these new objects. Whenever difficulty arises, it’s the usual editorial problem of reading a messy manuscript. But the bad news: our <zone> element has struggled to keep up.

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BAND, Uncategorized

Working with Vertical Text

It wasn’t until I began looking through all the letters in the Blake Archive that I realized just how unique Blake’s second November 22nd 1802 letter to Thomas Butts really is. This uniqueness poses some interesting problems when it comes to encoding. The text of this letter fills both leaves of paper from top to bottom and comes very close to the margins. It includes both prose and verse, and the verse is in two columns that begin on the first page and end on the second.

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BAND, Uncategorized, XML

Revisiting Choice Tags in Poetical Sketches

For the past few months I’ve been tackling the 72-object Poetical Sketches, one of only two of Blake’s literary works printed using conventional typesetting (the other is French Revolution). Thanks to the previous work of Ali and Megan Wilson, my job as a “pre-proofer” has become much easier. The pre-proofing process involves checking the spacing and format of each object on various browsers (also known as deuglification); reviewing line notes for errors; verifying the inclusion of the original page numbers on each object (<physnumber>); adding more specific attributes for headers (ex. <texthead type=“title”>); and, of course, adding/modifying choice tags based on our updated tag set.

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