By Margaret Speer
As one of the two undergraduate assistants to the Blake Archive at the University of Rochester (BAND), my main activities are:
- Proofreading letters
- Asking the graduate students to unlock the door of the Blake Archive office for me
- Retyping words from Blake’s letters in Word to see if they’re misspelled and therefore require a choice tag
- Worrying about how poor my spelling is
- Telling myself it’s ok I can’t spell—just look at William Blake’s spelling!
- Thinking about how much cooler Geoffrey Keynes was (one of our standard references) than his brother, John Maynard
- Lamenting how woefully unprepared my three or four readings of The Tyger in high school English classes left me for the trials of the technology involved in a digital humanities project
- Asking for help with the unconquerable BADs
- Memorizing the Proofing Form
- Hyperventilating at weekly meetings when the graduate students talk about how many pages they are writing for their papers and dissertations, etc.
As I’ve suggested, the Proofreading Form is one of my closest companions at the Blake Archive. Megan, the other undergraduate assistant, and I started our work with the Archive proofing letters. Then, we did a couple letters ourselves. Now, with the goal to publish a large batch of letters soon, we are back to proofing.
The Proofing Form has featured in several dreams of mine since I started with the Blake Archive. It’s a little outdated—for example, it offers options to correct features that are no longer part of the Archive—and one of my goals is to contribute to an update of the Form, a project that has been discussed a little by the group.