In December the Blake Archive opened a new “wing” <> dedicated to back issues of the Blake Quarterly journal (the archive and quarterly have an editor in common, Morris Eaves, so it’s a natural marriage). The first installment covers issues from 2000-09, presented in both HTML and PDF versions.

This is a huge step toward making the journal more accessible; previously the hard copy issues (those produced before we went online in 2011) were available only from a library or from me at the journal office.

Blake Quarterly storeroomIt’s also testament to the hard work of many people at UNC Chapel Hill; I remember sending a huge box of issues for scanning about 5 years ago, and ever since a number of archive assistants have worked steadily on replacing grayscale images with color images from the archive, tagging, and checking. All kinds of thorny questions arise—should a mistake in the journal be corrected or left as is? If an image of a commercial engraving is from one institution and the archive has an image from another source, is a substitution acceptable, and how should it be noted? Like many archive projects, it’s exacting and challenging work on a large scale.

I cannot claim any credit—my contribution ended more or less the day that I manhandled the box of issues to UPS (though that was a feat in itself). Those issues came from the collection in our basement storeroom (at left), which is hot in summer and absolutely roasting in winter, as heating pipes run nearby. Everything has been covered in a film of white dust since a ceiling tile fell and shattered a while ago (I was assured that it didn’t contain asbestos, so that’s something). So between the heat and the dust and the undulating shelves and the silverfish it’s the not-so-perfect place for archiving back issues. My hope is that eventually we will no longer need this room because the contents of all the print back issues will be available in the archive. But then I’d have to clear it out, so maybe not too soon!