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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: The English Verse Drama Database
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1757  Friday, 13 July 2001

[1]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 13:57:21 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 23:01:32 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

[3]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 16:43:10
        Subj:   Re: The English Verse Drama Database

[4]     From:   Drew Whitehead <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Jul 2001 11:53:31 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 13:57:21 -0400
Subject: 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

The English Verse Drama, and Prose Drama, Databases are perfectly OK for
searching the texts.  However, when it comes to actual citation I think
only the unwary or unadvised would actually cite the texts from this
source.  I'm afraid that for those not reprinted or edited in modern
times it will be off to the microforms department to make use of the STC
and Wing microfilms so you can cite the early edition(s).

William Proctor Williams

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 23:01:32 +0100
Subject: 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

Jack Heller writes

> As a source for all those rarely read, rarely edited Renaissance
> dramas, how reliable is the Chadwyck-Healey English Verse
> Drama database? Can it be trusted for reliable, albeit original
> spelling, texts? I'm thinking of using it as a handy source for some
> rare Davenport and Heywood plays.

The texts were double-keyed (ie two times, by different typists) from
xeroxes of the earliest printings, by English Literature graduates in
the Far East. I recall Chadwyck-Healey quoting an accuracy rate of 1
keying error per 1000 keystrokes. This seems pretty good, but for a
comparison one might note that this posting contains 1,294 keystrokes,
and hence, were it a Chadwyck-Healey text, it would probably contain one
typo.

Still, 1 in 1000 keystrokes isn't bad. By comparison, Bell and Howell
(parent of Chadwyck-Healey and University Microfilms International) say
that the error rate in their EEBO digitization of UMI's Early English
Books collection of films is "very low". I found, however, that for STC
13373 (Brome and Heywood's _Late Lancashire Witches_) five images on the
film were missed in the digitization (B4v-C1r, F3v-F4r, H4v-I1r,
I4v-K1r, and K2v-K3r). This amounts to over 10% of the book, or 100
times worse than Chadwyck-Healey's rate.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Jul 2001 16:43:10
Subject:        Re: The English Verse Drama Database

Jack Heller <
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 > asks:

>As a source for all those rarely read, rarely edited Renaissance dramas,
>how reliable is the Chadwyck-Healey English Verse Drama database? Can it
>be trusted for reliable, albeit original spelling, texts? I'm thinking
>of using it as a handy source for some rare Davenport and Heywood plays.

I can't answer the question -- sorry, Jack! -- as I'm not familiar with
the C-H database. But his posting has reminded me of one of the three
major projects which the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance (at the
University of Warwick) has been conducting: the John Nichols Project.

The Centre had a workshop a couple of months ago, and questions we
raised included:

- What editorial principles do we wish to apply to manuscript texts,
especially when there are differences between the original
Elizabethan/Jacobean texts and nichols' edition?

- Nichols collated several versions of Jonson's masques, and Jonson has
been heavily edited in the 19th-21st centuries. How does Nichols'
versions compare/contrast to modern editions? What principles should our
edition follow?

- How are we to alter and/or annotate Nichols where his text is
incorrect or incomplete?

There were many more questions, for which I do not have space here.

More information about the project can be found at:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/ren

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Drew Whitehead <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Jul 2001 11:53:31 +1000
Subject: 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1747 The English Verse Drama Database

Jack,

I have been in the habit of using the Chadwick-Healey database as a
method of electronically cross-checking the plays that I have been
putting on-line and while it has been useful I often come across a
significant number of errors on that database.  Sometimes they are just
typos, but I have also found a few reading mistakes such as a long s
being read as an f.  As an estimate (it has been a while since I've done
a comparison) I would put the figure between 50 to 150 errors in a
3,000-line text.  Another problem I sometimes have with the database is
with their choice of copytext.  For example, the use of the 2nd Folio
edition (1679) of The Two Noble Kinsmen rather than the 1st Quarto
edition (1634) which is the chosen copytext of all subsequent editors.
Having said all that I still think that the database is a wonderful tool
and that my problems with it are minor in comparison to its usefulness.

All the best,
Drew Whitehead.

Twilight Pictures: The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher.
http://english.uq.edu.au/drama/fletcher/

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