The William Blake Archive:
Problems and Opportunities
Bob Essick, UC Riverside
My intention is to raise, briefly and very informally, some of the general
issues concerning online archives that have come to my attention by co-editing
The William Blake Archive (http://www.blakearchive.org/)
over the last five years. My hope is that these issues will be of interest
not just to Blake enthusiasts, but to all who are working on, or are thinking
about establishing, archival websites. I outline below some of the relevant
- Defining the beast: What is a "Digital Archive"? Texts and images.
Preservation and storage (even replacement) vs. scholarly and educational
- Collaborative research, pre-digital scholarship, and post-digital
- Object orientation vs. text/meaning orientation: how much positivism
can you stand?
- Minimum requirements for object-oriented research archives:
- hyperlinks and annotations (of texts, of images)
- search engines-images as well as texts
- imaging protocols: photography, scanning, 600 dpi LZW-compressed
TIFFs, the human eye, Adobe Photoshop, and other fun stuff
- image sizing: is it worth it?
- page design: reproduced object vs. technical decor
- Hierarchical structure vs. "radiant textuality" and other forms of
- Image searching: the linguistic "filter" and set-menu vs. free-form
- SGML encoding: practicalities of display vs. integrity of coding prompts.
- Copyrights, permissions, and salesmanship.
Robert Hamm | Page Content
Created 10/1/00 | Last Modified 10/31/00