Today sees the publication of our latest issue, fall 2020 (vol. 54, no. 2), which will be open access until the end of the month.

Cover of autumn 2020 issue

Several items in this issue presented challenges for the coding of the layout. Our process is to style the HTML version of each contribution first; once that is set, we run the code through a program called Prince XML to produce the PDF version.

Take, for example, the transcription of the document that is central to Chuck Ripley’s note about Blake’s father and grandfather, “James Blake of Rotherhithe, Timber Merchant.” Luckily for me, Meaghan Green, a UR graduate student and Blake Archive assistant who has done work for the journal before, agreed to take it on. Apart from coping with the relative spacing and those pesky brackets of different sizes, she figured out how to rotate the text that is vertical and have it display consistently across browsers.

Document concerning James Blake

When I uploaded the HTML file of this article to the journal management system, which allows you to view it on our site, the transcription looked great—apart from the fact that the vertical text had utterly vanished. It’s rare but not unknown for there to be an unwelcome surprise at this stage, as sometimes the code can clash with or be overruled by the coding of the system.

Faced with the prospect of having to confess to Chuck and Meaghan, I turned detective and did a browser search for the word “Rotherhith,” which came up obscured under a layer. Adding “z-index: 1” to the code for the vertical text ensured its reappearance (z-index is a property that specifies the stack order of items, so no. 1 is akin to the top of a deck of cards).

All well and good: crisis averted and good relations with colleagues unharmed. Onto the PDF. I ran the code through Prince XML, retaining “z-index: 1” for good measure, and once again—you guessed it—the vertical text disappeared. I was less surprised this time, because I always have to tweak the code between the HTML and PDF versions. Some sleuthing revealed that Prince requires not only a “rotate” attribute but also “translate” (the amount that the text should be moved horizontally and vertically from the place where it would normally appear to the place you want it) in order to effect the transformation. The slightly modified

transform: translate(-1.23in, 2.95in) rotate(90deg);
text-align: justify;
font-size: 14px;}

applied to

<div class=”rotate”>Son of James Blake of Rotherhith</br> in Surrey Timber Merch.<sup style=”font-size: 11px”>t</sup></div>

did the trick.

Against the tale of the disappearing James Blake we have Job emerging, as our autumn 2015 issue (vol. 49, no. 2) becomes open access. It contains Mei-Ying Sung’s meticulous record of the Rosenbloom set of prepublication proofs for Illustrations of the Book of Job (Beinecke Library) and Sibylle Erle on Tennyson’s copy of Job (Lincolnshire Archives).

Cover of autumn 2015 issue