Thanks to the addition of two BAND assistants (hi Megan and Margaret!) to the A Descriptive Catalogue project, we now have a complete (and typo-free!) transcription of the text. The three of us are currently working on marking up the BAD and adding textnotes to the transcription in order to describe the details of the work as completely as possible.


As I’ve discussed on another occasion, A Descriptive Catalogue is a typographical work, which means that a lot of the standards and conventions we’ve developed in line with manuscript transcription aren’t applicable. Take the title page, for example.

As well as the handwritten addition by Blake, which we have noted with both a note and a <handShift/> tag, there are a number of different typefaces on this object, most notably the gothic script of “Sale by Private Contract.” Should we also tag instances where a different font is used? And if so, should we include a description of that font? Given that we already have tags that tell users what kind of medium is employed, like <handShift medium=“pencil”/> or <handShift medium=“pen-red”/>, it is not hard to imagine something like <handShift font=“helvetica”/>. But do these fonts even have names? And if we were to consider a font shift worth tagging, what would we consider the “base” font and how/where would that information be recorded in the BAD?

The most difficult part of all of these questions, is knowing to differentiate between information that a user wants or needs, and that which is extraneous. However, full disclosure: I not-so-secretly dream about BADs that are marked-up in such minute detail that we can recreate the complete works of Blake in a post-apocalyptic world where all physical examples of his corpus are lost. (Note to self, would this make a good movie plot?)