1. The authors would like to thank Brian Boucheron, Christopher Jackson, Wayne Ripley, and William Shaw for their willingness to read this paper in various stages of development, and for their supportive comments, much needed corrections, and insightful questions. Thanks also to the volume editors and readers for their thoughtful suggestions. A portion of this paper was presented at the 2009 Conference for the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Durham, NC.
2. Eileen Gifford Fenton and Hoyt N. Duggan note that "creating digital text from handwritten documents requires all the traditional editorial and bibliographic disciplines necessary for publication in print plus some mastery of SGML/XML markup" (241).
3. Eaves lists the primary characteristics of x-editing as “interactive; collaborative, requiring closely coordinated teamwork; offsite, conducted at several dispersed locations connected electronically; highly adaptive; approximate; tentative; experimental, ruled by trial and error; radically incomplete” (“Crafting Editorial Settlements” par. 28).
4. In the Blake Archive, comparative analysis can begin with the click of a button. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, for example, is comprised of nine separate copies held in eight different institutions and private collections. The reader can view them all on a computer screen as high-quality, color-corrected images, “reproductions that are more accurate in color, detail, and scale than the finest commercially published photomechanical reproductions” (“Archive at a Glance”). While browsing images of this Illuminated Book, readers of the Blake Archive can enlarge the pages, read descriptive annotations, search for additional images, or use the “Compare” function, which displays matching plates from each copy of the work in a single screen.
5. Current Project Assistants on this project are Christopher Jackson, Rachel Lee, and J. Alexandra McGhee; the Project Manager is Ashley Reed; the Technical Editor is William Shaw; and the Editor is Morris Eaves.
6. For example, object 18 includes sections of backwards writing. Our decisions about how to encode these sections of backwards text in Island can be retroactively applied to the Illuminated Books that also contain mirror writing.
7. In “Levels of Transcription,” M. J. Driscoll observes that "from a single marked-up copy text it should be possible, if one so desires, to produce screen or print copy at any level, from strictly diplomatic to fully normalized" (258).
8. Eaves points out that the Blake Archive’s primary purpose is for studying Blake rather than reading him. Therefore, our primary audience is a scholarly one. “The first imperative of editing is to meet the needs of audiences, and the audience that has guided our imaginations is the community of scholars” (“Multimedia Body Plans” 211).
10. Patrick Durusau makes a similar observation about encoding as a process of discovery. "The process of documenting markup choices is actually one of learning about a body of texts. Specialists know the text but not from the standpoint of imposing markup from a fixed set of elements such as the TEI guidelines. And it is not always obvious which TEI elements should be used for encoding, even if there is agreement about what to encode" (303).
11. For example, Michael Phillips transcribes the first three words of the second line of Chapter 7 (object 7, line 40 in the Archive), as “they Quid and Suction were left alone” (Island 40). The use of italics here indicates that “they” has been deleted. However, Phillips transcribes “Quid and Suction” normally, while the Archive would represent this as a “substitution,” therefore joining “they” and “Quid and Suction” by highlighting both the “deletion” and the “replacement" as one unit.
12. The Archive includes variant readings from Phillips, G. E. Bentley, and David Erdman within text notes. In one such case (object 6, line 11), the Archive reads, “that a natural fool would make a clever fellow,” but includes a text note with this information: “Phillips reads the deletion as ‘a-’ (page 39).”
16. As James Cummings and Syd Bauman pointed out when we sent a query to the TEI listserv, it is possible to describe nonstandard characters or variant glyphs, such as with the glyph <g> element (Cummings), or by using the character <c> element with the attribute “partial” (Bauman). However, the Archive's Technical Editor, William Shaw, explained that even with these solutions, we were still left with the problem of displaying these markings, and that the only realistic alternatives might be to encode Blake's partial letters as altered or illegible characters (Shaw).