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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: September ::
Public Domain Shakespeare Project
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 224. Wednesday, 18 Sep 1991.
(1)	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 1991 09:42:26 -0400
	From: 	Steve Urkowitz <surcc@cunyvm.bitnet>
	Subj:   Re: SHK 2.0220  Public Domain Shakespeare Proposal
(2)	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 1991 13:15:13 -0400
	From: 	Janis Lull <ffjl@alaska.bitnet>
	Subj:	[Public Domain Shakespeare Project]
(3)	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 1991 14:01:56 EDT
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  (Hardy M. Cook)
	Subj: 	[Scanning Renaissance Texts]
(4)	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 1991 14:44:00 -0400
	From: 	Naomi Seeger <
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	Subj: 	re: [Public Domain Shakespeare] Proposal
(5)	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 1991 15:31:36 -0400
	From: 	Mike Post <
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	Subj: 	Text encoding
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 1991 09:42:26 -0400
From: 		Steve Urkowitz <surcc@cunyvm.bitnet>
Subject: 2.0220  Public Domain Shakespeare Proposal
Comment:      	Re: SHK 2.0220  Public Domain Shakespeare Proposal
Yikes! what a delicious and musical echo rebounded from my discordant
belch about the possibilities of electronic texts . . . .  We'll have to
tell that Edison lad that his invention shows promise.  Some further
thoughts come to mind, prompted by Randal McLeod's various observations
on the limitations of various computer generated concordances.  First,
there are odd anomalies in these early printed texts that would
encourage imaginative flexibility.  For instance, the category "speech
prefix" seems nice, but there is at least one speech prefix that is also
a stage direction, and a juicy textual variant (which is why I noticed
it).  The opening scene of 2HenryVI has Queen Margaret in the Q text
apparently sitting down next to the King while  the English nobles  have
this line:  ALL [reads the speech prefix]. Long live Queen Margaret,
Englands happiness.  Or words to that defect.  The equivalent in the
Folio, where Margaret is likely standing upright, has a "speech prefix"
that reads "All kneel." And the same spoken words.  Elsewhere we find
stage directions with dialogue embedded in them.  Great fun, but these
anomalies will require some kind of whizbang markers to set them apart
from most everything else that will fit neatly into prethought
categories.  The compositors kept inventing local solutions to odd copy
or technical typesetting dilemmas, such as too much or too little
material to fit onto a page.  I guess I'm suggesting that we may have to
do an end-run around the necessity for determining all the coding
schemes.  We may need a code for "Here be dragons."   xxxx
For the Hamlet texts, Paul Bertram and Bernice Kliman have just brought
out a modern typeset parallel Q1Q2F text with through line numberings,
act-scene-line numbers, and other conveniences.  I've seen only an
announcement of it, and I do not know how excited they might be about
releasing it directly into the e-world.
I suggested public-domain 19th century diplomatic reprints as texts to
be scanned.  I've heard from people who have tried working directly from
photofacsimiles that they run into difficulties with broken types, odd inkings,
"bleed-through" (particularly a problem, I imagine, in Romeo and
Juliet), etc.    As a way to check the accuracy and the consistency of
entering or keyboarding, one scheme I read about was to type everything
in twice (or scan it twice with different machinery?) and then run a
simple comparison program to see where the two versions disagree.  That
would ease at least some of the proofreading burden.  I would be
particularly interested to hear from Mike Post and other theatrical
folks about the kinds of things that they might find most useful. But maybe
simple is best.
Let's play!
		                Steve Urkowitz  SURCC@CUNYVM
	[One escape from the necessity of editorial choice, as to
	whether something is a s.d. or a s.p. for instance, would be
	simply to label both as the same thing, apparatus rather than
	spoken text.  Howard-Hill distinguished them as <S and <D, and
	although this occasionally means making a choice -- and indeed
	also making a choice when a name in dialogue also looks like a
	s.p. -- I think that the added flexibility it will give to the
	texts makes it worthwhile.  Nobody wants to have to go back
	through the texts differentiating s.p.'s and s.d.'s...
	As for the double-typing approach to proofreading, it does
	come highly recommended, but fortunately we won't have to do
	it.  We can achieve the same results (or better) by collating
	our texts with the Howard-Hill and Oxford texts, which were
	proof-read four times for the Old-Spelling Concordances, and
	at least once more by myself and many others.
	As regards scanning, see Hardy Cook's note below.  Also below,
	Mike Post seems to have anticipated your question.  I would be
	curious to get more information on this parallel-text Hamlet,
	however, if you have it, Steve.  -- k.s.]
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 1991 13:15:13 -0400
From: 		Janis Lull <ffjl@alaska.bitnet>
Subject:	[Public Domain Shakespeare Project]
I'll be glad to type in a scene from any text for any scholarly purpose
the group chooses.  Personally, I'm most interested in files appropriate
for textual studies, but a reading text for undergraduates would be useful,
too.  Wordcruncher is expensive, and some students find it unfriendly.
Public domain texts might make electronic Shakespeare easier to integrate
into classroom practice, especially if the text-processing software were also
public domain.
	[Although TACT is not exactly in the public domain, it is not
	shareware either, and users are encouraged to share copies
	freely -- much like the sort of arrangement which we might
	choose for our texts.  -- k.s.]
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 1991 14:01:56 EDT
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  (Hardy M. Cook)
Subject: 	[Scanning Renaissance Texts]
	[I have edited this message from private correspondence.
	Although the output below represents early experiments, it
	does confirm what I have heard consistently for years, that
	scanners cannot yet handle the messy sorts of texts we find
	most interesting. -- k.s.]
[...] I tried to scan a page from the Malone Society 2H4.  The
scanning itself took an inordinately long time and the initial
results were disappointing, as you can see from this sample:
	. I~erecondpar~of
	it,i .~oodphr~.,ar~hre]y, andcucrwerc~. vcr~ comtn~
	blc, ~ccommodatcd: it comcs of ,~conn~ cry good
	ood phra(e.
	Brn~ P~rd~n me l;r~ I haue 11card tb~ worde ~ phrafc
	~n youit ~ b~ this good day, 1 knowc not the phr~-c, b~t
	Iwill ma~nta~ thcwordewith myfwo~ bccihoul-
	~h~/~dawordeo~x~ecdinggoQd co~d,
	acc~nm~tcd, thatis, whcnaman is, ast-hey
	acc~d~e~, o~whcl}~an jSJ bcc.ingwhcreb~, a
	~ay ~ ghtt ~ ccommodatcd, wliichisan cxcchc~-t
	[Scanning may be a useful technique to produce an initial text
	file on which volunteers could edit rather than typing from
	scratch, but only if considerably better results can be
	achieved.  I suspect that the technology isn't ready yet.
	Steve Urkowitz's earlier suggestion of scanning modern
	type-facsimiles, however, might well work -- we could then
	edit them into line with facsimiles.  Is anyone familiar
	enough with these pre-photographic facsimiles to recommend this?
	For the moment, we'd best assume that this will have to be
	done the hard way...  -- k.s.]
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 1991 14:44:00 -0400
From: 		Naomi Seeger <
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Subject: 	re: [Public Domain Shakespeare] Proposal
Ken -
I would like to volunteer to key in text.  I agree with the scene by scene
distribution.  My vote is for 12N to be keyed in, but I will work on what
is chosen.  If 12N is the play, or when it is the play, I would like to
request I.v to key in.  What a wonderful scene!  What a pleasure to make
it available to others!  So please put my name on the list.
On a related note.  I know nothing about these SGML/TEI conventions
or forms, so I would need explicit instructions.  I type pretty well,
but would prefer to leave the proof-reading to others with more
experience with the Q&F texts.
Naomi Seeger
	[Rest assured that the first thing we will have to establish
	are some entry guidelines.  The simpler the better (we can
	always exchange notes should something unforeseen come up) but
	we should try to anticipate the usual sorts of problems.  -- k.s.]
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 1991 15:31:36 -0400
From: 		Mike Post <
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Subject: 	Text encoding
In the immortal words of someone:  Let me say this about that...
> The Folio texts are already being marketed
> (on paper) as acting texts, so clearly Q&F are not remote to the purposes
> of the theatre either.
Certainly not remote.  While Penguin editions are what I see most, I
participated in a production of *Macbeth* which was drawn directly
from the Norton Facsimile.  Further, as a director, when I look at a
play, the original text is the first place I would go to, or in this
case, as close as I could come to the original.  I haven't directed
Shakespeare, but when I do I will want to look at both Folio and
Quarto versions as well as other copies.  Having an electronic one
will enable me to peruse it and look for certain key things like
repetitive images (look for the animal references in *M* sometime,
they're quite fun).  This sort of research is not limited to directors
either.  Actors, designers, dramaturgs and others need such resources
as well.
> Bruce Avery is right to question the sophistication of scanning
> hardware and software; the last I heard (that's becoming a refrain!)
> there was no combination capable of reading renaissance texts
> reliably, although even moderately-reliable texts would speed up the
> keyboarding phase.  (Hardy Cook has indicated to me in private
> correspondence that he's about to do some experimenting with his own
> equipment; if successful this will be quite promising).
To my current knowledge, there are OCR packages which can be 'taught'
any type style, though none are educated for renaissance text.  (OCR
means Optical Character Recognition for those who may not know).  I
work largely in the Mac world and know of two, though I forget the
names.  The problem with this is it will never be perfect. Characters
will be garbled causing some interesting misspellings.  Usually, I
find that the effort involved in cleaning up a scanned text is equal
or greater than typing it manually.   Further, it takes time to teach
software a given font.  However, my experience is with smaller
projects.  It may be worth looking into for something of this size.
The time spent teaching may be regained in the speed of scanning
versus typing.  Has anyone else done this sort of work on a large
In terms of coding text, I'm not aware of what the current state
of the art is.  However, I feel that once it's in a computer in a good
general coded form, then it can be converted electronically to
anything you want, with some work developing recoding mechanisms.  The
trick is to find the most general form to code it in, which will allow
for this translation.
I'm a little confused about stage directions.  In many acting texts
the stage directions have been copied down from a particular
production and do not necessarily apply to a new one.  Most
Shakespeare texts I see have very few outside of Enter and Exeunt.
The blocking is drawn from clues in the spoken text and applied to the
particular production.  Are there texts which have more elaborate
stage directions included?  This is more of a curiosity of mine, not
for this project.
Mike Post
Graduate Student - MFA Directing/Acting
The University of Montana

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