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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: September ::
Public Domain Shakespeare Proposal
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No.220. Tuesday, 17 Sep 1991.
 
(1)	Date:   Mon, 16 Sep 91 09:15:56 EDT
	From:	David Alan Grier <
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	Subj:   Re: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
(2)	Date: 	Mon, 16 Sep 1991 14:17:14 -0400
	From: 	Mike Post <
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	Subj: 	Text Encoding
 
(3)	From: 	Michael Warren <
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	Date: 	Mon, 16 Sep 91 15:36:47 -0700
	Subj: 	[Public Domain Shakespeare Texts]
 
(4)	Date: 	Mon, 16 Sep 1991 20:17:02 EDT
	From: 	
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  (Hardy M. Cook)
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
(5)	Date:   Tue, 17 Sep 1991 8:17:55 CDT
	From: 	Lars Engle <
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	Subj: 	RE: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
(6)	From: 	Ken Steele <
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	Subj: 	Public Domain Shakespeare Texts
	Date: 	Tue, 17 Sep 91 9:36:02 EDT
 
(1)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date:         	Mon, 16 Sep 91 09:15:56 EDT
From: 		David Alan Grier <
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Subject: 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
Comment:      	Re: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
The idea of producing public domain Shakespeare texts is superb.  Other
fields (my own of computer science is a good example) have produced extensive
libraries of public domain programs and documents to good effect.  The
challenge in doing so, and it is far from insurmountable, is quality control.
You need to prepare a careful style sheet and have an editing and proof
reading staff.  Once that is done, the project can be done with volunteer
input.
 
One other thing.  I would recommend preparing the text so that it might be
used with a standard shareware viewer, such as "list" (available from
simtel20 or the wstl (washington university) archives.
 
D. Grier
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Mon, 16 Sep 1991 14:17:14 -0400
From: 		Mike Post <
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Subject: 	Text Encoding
 
Ken et. al.,
 
For what it's worth, I'll run out and start typing now if you'd like.
Being a computer geek from way back, having such an electronic
resource would quite possibly cause me to wet my pants.  Our
production manager, another computer enthusiast, likes to use
electronic texts to lay out his prompt book when he stage manages.  He
finds it invaluable, though does not always have the time to do the
typing.  I am not a very good typist, so it will take me a short while
to type the Folio 8-).  In terms of organizing this, I have a couple
of questions/suggestions.
 
    First of all, which source is to be used?  I suspect there will be
    a vast difference of opinion as to which is better, Q or F.
    Further, while any published copy of one source should be the same
    as any other, is this necessarily the case, or are there 'minute
    typing differences' between them?  As an actor, I have learned
    that such typos can change the meaning of a line.  Would doing
    copies of different sources be too much work?  It would be
    interesting for electronic text analysis.
 
    Secondly, I'd like to suggest it would be easier to keep track of
    things if it were done in scenes, rather than, 'OK, You take lines
    20 through 117.'  While individual scenes vary in length, I don't
    know of any which would be so long as to prohibit entry of each
    with proper proofreading.
 
    What about having each scene proofread by 1 or 2 others on the
    project?  I'd feel happier if I had a watchdog over me,
    considering my typing skills.
 
    Lastly, which text to begin with?  So far, you suggest *Lear* and
    someone else likes *Hamlet*.  Personally, I have no immediate
    concern, though *12N* would have been nice last year.  We have no
    planned productions of Shakespeare this year, and I have no
    projects involving such, yet (our school year starts next week,
    who knows what I'll be assigned...)  I suggest a poll of the
    subscribers who are interested in this project.  Someone may have
    an immediate need for a text and could be accommodated this way.
 
In closing, I feel this project is IMPORTANT.  Most of us in academia
know of the meaning of 'lack of funding' and often cannot afford to
purchase such a resource.  One of the most fascinating things about
networking is this huge potential for collaboration, making such a
monumental project as encoding Shakespeare manageable by bring more
fingers into the fray.  I sense a possibility here for creating a
resource which will prove invaluable to the academic world at large.
Let me know if I can help in the organization/management of it all,
I'll do my best.
 
				Mike Post
				Graduate Student, MFA Directing/Acting
				The University of Montana
				
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(3)-------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Michael Warren <
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Date: 		Mon, 16 Sep 91 15:36:47 -0700
Subject: 	[Public Domain Shakespeare Texts]
 
	[Personal correspondence slightly edited. -- k.s.]
 
I am indeed still here reading everything that comes through, but find that
whenever there is something I might respond to, somebody else has usually
been quicker off the mark.
 
However, I am very interested in all the correspondence about getting
Qq and Ff on line. If there is a desire to install texts of LEAR, may I
point out that there is a better text to use than the Huntington quartos,
which is prepared from a copy that mixes formes in corrected and uncorrected
states, and which has a number of flaws in the reproduction (not many, as I
recall, but even two or three are more than you need). There is a version
from U. of California Press with which I'm all too well acquainted that
might prove useful as a source for both Q and F.  Only the Oxford facsimile
fits neatly on a stand beside a keyboard.
 
I plan to follow this correspondence with curiosity--and perhaps even
participation. It has been one of my dreams to get a parallel text of LEAR
onto a computer, but I've never given it the priority I should.
 
					Best wishes
					Michael Warren
					
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(4)-------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Mon, 16 Sep 1991 20:17:02 EDT
From: 		
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  (Hardy M. Cook)
Subject: 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
Comment: 	RE: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
I have the HP ScanJet Plus, an IBM PS/2 model 70, and OmniPage Professional
and I would be glad to scan any public domain text submitted to me.  I also
have been transcribing the text of the 1609 quarto of the sonnets and would
also make that available to SHAKSPEReans.  All I need is a little
encouragement.
 
					Hardy M. Cook
					Bowie State University
 
(5)---------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date:    	Tue, 17 Sep 1991 8:17:55 CDT
From: 		Lars Engle <
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Subject: 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
Comment: 	RE: SHK 2.0216  Public Domain Texts: A Proposal
 
Dear Ken,
 
	I would be happy to encode my ten lines (or whatever it turns
out to be, within limits).  I own both Hinman and Allen&Muir.
 
				Lars Engle
				U. of Tulsa
 
(6)------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Ken Steele <
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Subject: 	Public Domain Shakespeare Texts
Date: 		Tue, 17 Sep 91 9:36:02 EDT
 
I'm elated to find so much interest in public domain electronic texts,
and so many willing volunteers!  I suspect there are others out there
who simply haven't spoken up; please do, as I'm compiling a list...
 
With all electronic texts, as David Grier and Mike Post emphasize,
accuracy is crucial, and proofreading indispensable.  I think there
are two key factors which will make this project feasible:
 
	1) The Network: we are a large group of computer-literate
	people interested in Shakespeare, we have a ready means to
	exchange electronic texts easily and quickly, and working
	cooperatively we may be able to complete this project faster
	than a single editor ever could.  We can also share the burden
	of proof-reading, to some extent, reporting errors as they are
	observed and taking them into account in a central, read-only
	file.
 
	2) A number of us have access to the Howard-Hill texts from
	the Oxford Text Archive.  Although we cannot under any
	circumstances distribute these files, using software like
	COLLATE or URICA it should be possible to test the accuracy of
	the new, public-domain texts quickly and easily.  A listing of
	variants can then be used to correct errors, or to focus
	attention on the facsimiles for proofreading.
 
Mike Post is also quite right, that volunteer stints the length of
scenes make more sense than ten-line segments.  (I intended to
emphasize the power of cooperation, not make more work for ourselves...).
 
I suggested *King Lear* because it is the centre of textual attention
at the moment, and because electronic texts of the quarto and folio
texts would be useful and in demand, but any other revised play would
also be appropriate, if controversial: *Hamlet*, *Othello*, and
*Richard III* occur to me.  A full-fledged poll may not be necessary;
suggestions are invited.  Certainly I believe that two texts of *Lear*
or three of *Hamlet* would be a more valuable resource than a single
text of three different plays, as a starting point.  (Ultimately, we'd
like to have all the plays in all their authoritative forms, of course.)
 
Michael Warren raises another important issue: the choice of copytext.
No-one wants to do keyboard entry in a library, so obviously we're
talking about facsimiles and hence modern editors.  The Norton
Facsimile of the First Folio is obviously the only choice, right?  For
the Quartos, the Allen & Muir volume is most convenient for many of us
(I'm still saving my pennies for *The Complete King Lear*, which
offers a parallel-text facsimile as well as individual facsimiles, if
I'm not mistaken), and I think convenience will be important if we are
to recruit volunteers.  I also suspect that we should try to encode
stop-press corrections and variants within an edition, if this is at
all possible.  Are there texts for which complete reference lists exist?
 
I would like to urge others to add their voices to mine to encourage
Hardy Cook to post his texts of the Sonnets when complete.  This would
be a valuable text, and one which is not available elsewhere, I believe.
The offer of scanning faycilities is also most generous, and I hope we
can find a way to orchestrate their use to best advantage.  I presume
that modern scanning technology and software is still inadequate to
the challenge posed by Elizabethan printing, but Steve Urkowitz's
suggestion of scanning modern type-facsimiles might be a good starting
point.  Editing a scanned text should be faster than keyboarding it
from scratch, and collation with the Howard-Hill texts would guard
against errors of oversight.
 
As for the encoding scheme: a simple scheme would probably be best, so
long as the essential information is included (Act, Scene, Speaker,
Speech Prefix, Page/Signature, Italic/Roman type, Stage Directions,
Printer's Matter, Language, Turned-over and -under lines, and perhaps
classical scenes).  More than this might just make the task more difficult,
and most other details (such as line numbering, filled lines, justified
text, compositor stints, etc.) could more easily be added later, in
some cases automatically.  Rather than a complex scheme like SGML, I
would also recommend something simple, like Oxford's COCOA brackets,
or WordCruncher's "bar"| codes, which could always be made more
complex later with macros or search-and-replace.  We don't want to
make the task insurmountable, but we also don't want to leave out
something so pervasive that a complete proofing of the text would be
necessary to add it.
 
Any more suggestions, comments, or offers?
 
					Ken Steele
					University of Toronto
 

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