A University of California
Multi-Campus Research Group

Fall 2000 Conference: November 3-5


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 ( 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 topics.

  1. Defining the beast: What is a "Digital Archive"? Texts and images. Preservation and storage (even replacement) vs. scholarly and educational tools.
  2. Collaborative research, pre-digital scholarship, and post-digital technical support.
  3. Object orientation vs. text/meaning orientation: how much positivism can you stand?
  4. 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
  5. Hierarchical structure vs. "radiant textuality" and other forms of navigation.
  6. Image searching: the linguistic "filter" and set-menu vs. free-form searching.
  7. SGML encoding: practicalities of display vs. integrity of coding prompts.
  8. Copyrights, permissions, and salesmanship.

Webmaster Robert Hamm | Page Content Bob Essick
Created 10/1/00 | Last Modified 10/31/00