The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive and the Blake Quarterly

October 3, 2014

Transcribe what you (think) you see?

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , , — mwils31 @ 11:00 am

One of the main principles at the Blake Archive, is “transcribe what you see.” This has been useful in making many editorial choices about how to represent an image of a work on a digital page. As Laura discussed in her Sept. 24th post, there is sometimes a tension between what we read and what we see. I am currently proofing our transcription of a manuscript known by its first lines, “then She bore Pale desire.” Just like Laura, there are times when I am unsure if I am seeing the manuscript or reading the manuscript. One example of this deals with the spacing between handwritten characters: (more…)

September 30, 2014

Publication Announcement – Illustrations to Thomas Gray’s poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Andrea H. Everett @ 1:39 pm

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of a fully searchable electronic edition of Blake’s 116 water color illustrations to Thomas Gray’s poems. The Archive first published these designs in April 2005 in our Preview mode. This republication substantially increases the number and range of Blake’s pictorial motifs available for searching on the Archive. (more…)

September 29, 2014

“And Now Begins a New life”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Sarah Jones @ 3:18 pm

Milton copy D, pl. 36. Library of Congress (image from the Blake Archive).

Blake was full of optimism and sea air when he wrote to John Flaxman after he and Catherine arrived at the cottage in Felpham (though he did remark on the amount of luggage—mostly his stuff, not hers). He immortalized it in Milton pl. 36 and is now immortalized in turn by a blue plaque on the wall. A postcard from the early twentieth century shows the house surrounded by cruciferous vegetables in a scene rather more prosaic than that depicted by Blake. (more…)

September 24, 2014

Transcribe what you…read?

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 8:35 pm

As Eric discussed last week, a group of us have been working on Vala, or The Four Zoas : a project that has been occupying a large chunk of my emotional and intellectual energy lately. It’s pretty intimidating to tackle a work that is notoriously difficult and the realisation that our early transcription attempts break the way that the Archive currently handles and displays text has been disheartening. However, looking on the bright side, pushing a system to its limits actually helps you to understand it more fully, which not only affects future work but has helped me to think more deeply about past and current projects. (more…)

September 17, 2014

Transparency is Collaboration

Filed under: XML — Tags: , , , , — Eric Loy @ 2:41 pm

A few of us at the Blake Archive are working on new markup strategies for the infamously difficult Blake manuscript known editorially as Vala, or the Four Zoas. There’s a great (great, great…) deal to be said–and will be said, eventually–about that project specifically, but first a note on some recent collaboration.

(more…)

September 10, 2014

Toe the Line: Defining (Part 1)

Filed under: BAND, XML — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 5:11 pm

One of the main ways that we organize Blake Archive works while encoding is through “line groups”, an element represented by <lg> in our BADs (Blake Archive Description). Here’s the formal definition from our documentation:

<lg>. This element identifies line groups–i.e., blocks of text on the object, such as stanzas or paragraphs. For verse, simply use <lg>, but for prose text (i.e., not poetry), use the type with value “prose”: e.g., <lg type=”prose”>.

As BAND has been preparing typographic works for publication, we have encountered a number of new transcription, display and encoding problems related to “secondary text” (discussed most recently by Eric here and Megan here) including one that questions the status of our beloved <lg>. So, riddle me this Ye Transcription Gods, if poetry is <lg> and prose  is <lg type=”prose”>, then what is text that is neither poetry nor prose? For example, most of our typographic works include a running header across the top of the page, how should we categorize that?

(more…)

September 3, 2014

Herding Cats

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Eric Loy @ 11:19 am

Changes in the weather, conspicuous coffee consumption, two or three return trips to Staples–the advent of a new semester can mean many things. The Great Leveler in academia, of course, is scheduling. We must be many places at many times, and we forever must coordinate ourselves against the variables (and the universe, in general, that conspires against us). (more…)

August 27, 2014

Reality Bites: everyday work and the Digital Humanities

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , — Laura Whitebell @ 12:21 pm

The funny thing about digital projects is that in addition to their online presence, they also exist in the real world. We’ve spent a lot of time over the past year increasing our web-based activity (this blog, twitter, participating in Day of DH and so on) but as we approach the start of the new academic year, I find myself confronting problems that are real, tangible, material. For example, how on earth can I find a time when twelve busy people are all available to meet? And even if that’s possible, where are we going to meet? Is the summer construction around the office going to be finished in time for the new semester? And why is the carpet in our office permanently wrinkled (a question I lose sleep over because I’m worried that someone’s going to trip over and do themselves a horrible injury)? (more…)

August 20, 2014

Professional Level Proofing

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , , — mwils31 @ 2:00 pm

At the Blake Archive, we strive for god-like workmanship. As such, proofreading for sinful mistakes is an important step in our process. Currently, we have several publications “on-deck” for publishing, but this means that several eyes have to pass over those documents. I am currently proofing a typographical work called Poetical Sketches. (more…)

August 15, 2014

Blake Camp 2014: Day 2

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , — Morris Eaves @ 12:08 pm

Continued from Wednesday’s post, Part 1 Recap of Blake Camp 2014. Also see Morris’s Brief History of Blake Camp.

DAY 2, Friday 14 June

Session 5

E-books, Search Terms, and New Image Sources

We begin with a long discussion of the pros and cons of issuing e-book editions of works in the Archive—focusing perhaps on developing Blake’s most popular and widely studied works in responsive portable formats. Among many other issues discussed are the thorny problems of copyright. (more…)

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