It has been about three years since the first video in what is now a series of video tutorials on the various features of the Blake Archive was uploaded to YouTube. It has been a little over a year since I completed the first of the handful that I would eventually write and record. Making these videos has been an interesting and valuable experience, and in the process I’ve learned a lot about microphones, screen recording, and perseverance. The original spreadsheet of video ideas from which we have been working is nearing completion and another video ideas brainstorming session is likely in order.
However, it’s a good idea to go into that brainstorming session with some sense of what we’ve already done. In order to determine what comes next, it helps to take a survey of what our existing videos cover.
Currently there are a total of seventeen videos on the Blake Archive YouTube channel. Eight of them fall under a category I would call, “reading/viewing a work in the Archive.” Basically, you just clicked on one of the works in the Archive. Now what? This category includes videos like the one explaining the difference between reading mode and gallery mode, the ones describing our diplomatic transcriptions of the text and our color code, and the ones on image enlargements and the true size feature. There are also two videos on the “electronic edition information” and “copy information” tabs, which constitute something of a sub-category within this category.
The other nine cover a wide range of topics. In addition to two videos about the Archive’s search function, there are videos about the Blake Quarterly and the Digital Erdman, Archive accessories like the Light Box, and how to get permission to use Blake Archive images.
So given that loose description of what kind of ground we’ve already covered, what still remains to be explained? Well, a few ideas come to mind.
1) It wouldn’t necessarily be obvious to the average Archive user what the object numbers transcribed under each object mean. When I view Object 6 of The Book of Thel Copy C, why does it say “object 6 (Bentley 6, Erdman 4, Keynes 4)?” This might be interesting and potentially useful information to provide.
2) While the concept of “Resources for Further Research” is probably self-explanatory, a short video on how we organize and categorize these resources (and what resources we decide to include) might be helpful. For example, why do we have a “General Bibliography” and a “Specific Bibliography,” and what is the difference?
3) The Blake Archive has become a bigger presence on social media over the years. In fact the Archive home page links to our Twitter account, so it might not be a bad idea to have a video that discusses what social media sites the Archive is active on and which sites are best for following us. Or to throw an alternative idea out there, this could potentially be part of a video on the best ways to contact and/or interact with us. What types of questions should be directed where? That kind of thing. Or maybe it makes more sense for these to be two different videos. Either way, it’s something to keep in mind.
4) Like “Resources for Further Research,” “Related Sites” might make for a good short video. What do we mean when we say “related?” Related in what ways? Given how broad that net could be, what kind of sites do we decide to include under “Related Sites?” This could be a fun thing to inform people about.
5) This last idea might be a little out there, but as long as we’re throwing gunk at the wall and seeing what sticks, hear me out. The magnifying glass and rotate features are simple enough that it might seem difficult to justify devoting an entire video to either of them, but I think it might be interesting to do a video at some point discussing Laocoön, and how the magnifying glass, the rotate feature, and the translations of foreign language text in the editorial notes maximize the accessibility of even so wild a work as Laocoön.
These are just some thoughts and others will likely have much to add to the discussion. It has been very rewarding to see the videos up on our YouTube channel garner views and likes, so hopefully we can continue to produce illuminating and helpful videos for Archive users.