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So then what happened?

Seven months ago I wrote a blog titled “Some Promising Forays into Transcribing Blake’s Marginalia.” Much has changed!

After months of grappling with the logistical and philosophical challenges involved in marginalia transcription, we now have what we think will be the actual marginalia tag-set moving forward (though to be sure, there are a few questions we’re saving for Blake Camp). 

As a follow up to the “Promising Forays” I want to provide a brief quasi-narrative description of how we got from point A to point B. 

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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, Digital Humanities, Uncategorized

Managing Marginalia: Two Ways

We are experiencing Real Winter Weather for the first time this season, so it seems apt that BAND are about to re-visit a project that kept us occupied last time the snow fell and the mercury plummeted: Blake’s marginalia.

As Lisa discussed last winter, one of the projects that we have yet to tackle fully is the annotations that Blake made in books from his own collection, a unique and challenging combination of a manuscript and a typographical work. This week, we’ll be holding the first meeting of Team Marginalia, a similar kind of working group as Team Color Code, who will be focusing on the specific problems that this kind of work poses.

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BAND, Digital Humanities

Building better ‘Bus Projects’

I learned a great new phrase at Blake Camp this year: ‘Bus Project’. This is a project that you are in charge of, but that anybody else could take over in the unlikely (and of course, tragic) event that you get squashed by a bus. Usually, this means that you keep comprehensive notes, talk to your colleagues and generally leave a long and detailed paper trail everywhere you go.

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BAND, Blake Camp

Blake Camp 2015

In the world of the Blake Archive, Blake Camp is one of the highlights of the year. We talk about it as a magical place where tricky problems will be solved and difficult decisions finally made, and even use it to measure time, referring to events as happening “before” or “after” Blake Camp. This year, I was going for the first time. 

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BAND, Digital Humanities

“dance & sport in summer”: overhauling the transcription guidelines

We’re approaching the end of semester here, and, as you all know, “summer vacation” in the wonderful world of academia doesn’t mean time off but time to actually try and get work done. Accordingly, over the last few weeks, I’ve been putting my ducks in a row and trying to organize my projects for the summer. The task at the top of my list is to update our transcription guidelines and tag set, and (hopefully) to put them into some sort of format that we can eventually make public for users of the Blake Archive. This project isn’t as snoozeworthy as it sounds: I’m actually looking forward to incorporating the transcription decisions that we’ve made over the last few years and seeing what kind of editorial rationale emerges (assuming, of course, that there has been some method to our madness).

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