Blake’s Genesis manuscript (c. 1826-27), one of our current projects, raises questions about how to transcribe ruled lines in an electronic edition. The manuscript contains many of these lines, which Blake drew in pencil before writing in the text. (In the last object, there are many ruled lines without text, as Blake hadn’t yet added it). To a large extent, we can capture the look of the ruled lines by using an underscore tag: <hi rend=”underscore”></hi>.

Here is a relatively straightforward example:

We have transcribed it like this:

But some ruled lines are less clear-cut because they are double or broken up, they bisect Blake’s text, or they appear above the text rather than below it:

We’ve been transcribing lines that appear above text as lines to themselves. A ruled line that bisects text could be rendered using a strikethrough, of course, but we already use a strikethrough to indicate deletions. At this stage, we’re supplementing our transcription with editors’ notes to explain special cases.