The William Blake Archive recently published seventeen pen and ink drawings by Blake that span the majority of his artistic career. As one of the art historians on staff at the WBA, I was tasked with the responsibility of creating XML documents to accompany each of the works—files that we call Blake Archive Documents or BADs. These BADs are incredibly important as they include not only textual descriptions of the drawings but also tagged search terms, which enable the new drawings to be plugged into the existing search function of the WBA.
For example, if a visitor to the WBA is interested in finding all of Blake’s works that illustrate kings, he or she could search the term “king,” and the resulting list would now include two of the newly published pen and ink drawings as they too were tagged with the term “king”: “The Body of Edward I in his Coffin, Two Rough Drawings” and “Saul and David: ‘And Saul Said Unto David, Go, and the Lord Be With Thee.”
We call this process of describing and adding tagged search terms to individual works “markup.” The WBA maintains a comprehensive list of search terms from which all project assistants marking …read more