A while back (actually it’s been more than a year) I wrote about our efforts to develop a set of shared terms to be used across the Four Zoas and Marginalia projects. We’ve been struggling with this since, with the use of <layer> in the marginalia encoding as an interim solution. Since the Four Zoas project has unusual (ahem) layout and intensive revisions, we introduced <zone> to represent the spatial structure of the text and <stage> as a child element of line in an attempt to represent every act of editing in detail. For the marginalia however, we needed a tag to distinguish between Blake’s writing and the typographic text more than anything to denote layers of revision and editing within the line. In order to avoid confusion, we decided to use <layer> for our schema. The results looked like this:
Although it was fundamental at the conceptual level to the way we created our encoding schema, its practical functions appear to be largely vestigial since any differences between typographic text and marginalia will be clear to users due to the display, the color code and the existing editorial framework of the Blake Archive website.
Working through these minor issues reveals a set of problems central to developing digital editions – making creative and intellectual decisions that must be constantly informed by technological, institutional and financial constraints, more so than with traditional humanities scholarship due to the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of our work. But the amazing bit is that we always have brilliant team members to look over our shoulders and double-check for errors, just as someone in BAND is always sure to proof-read these blogs to ensure that we don’t make typos!