Category

BAND

BAND, Blake Quarterly

Blogging about the blog

It’s no secret, given Mike’s recent preview of the technical summary and tweets like this

Delighted to be shown upcoming redesigned @BlakeArchive site by Joe Viscomi, Michael Fox, Joseph Fletcher. pic.twitter.com/r081bruJvJ

— Alan Liu (@alanyliu) February 10, 2016

that the Blake Archive is undergoing a top-to-bottom cosmetic and structural redesign, the kind that takes thousands of hours and elicits oohs and aahs when it’s revealed.

Continue reading
BAND

Archivists or… Aliens?

In the midst of creating new schemas for both our marginalia and Four Zoas projects, our project teams have recently been coming face to face with one of the (if not THE) most fundamental aspects of the Blake archive: when organizing a manuscript for a digital platform, we focus on creating something that is, above all else, visually authentic. Of course, this can be particularly challenging to those who have devoted their lives to reading, aka every person who currently works on the archive. When creating new schemas and reworking what we already have, our innate need to read and understand everything happening in a manuscript makes keeping things visually-authentic a very backwards-feeling job.

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading
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:

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading
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?

 

Continue reading
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.”

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading