By Adam McCune
In the process of preparing the team to correct spelling errors in the digital archive of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly (errors in the transcription and in the original print version), I have made a few interesting observations about word distribution in the BIQ corpus (before the first online issues). On the principle that misspellings occur less frequently than correct spellings, I used a series of PHP scripts to generate a wordlist sorted by the number of instances of each unique word. The team is beginning by checking the spellings of rare words (appearing 1-3 times in the whole print-only run of BIQ), in hopes of encountering a higher percentage of errors more efficiently. The word list itself, however, tells us some interesting things about the word choices of Blake scholars.
A few caveats about the following figures: First, this list was constructed to check spelling, so different spellings (British and American, not to mention the idiosyncratic spelling of Blake and other authors) are counted as separate words, and—because capitalization is sometimes important to correct spellings as well—different capitalizations of the same word are also counted as separate words. Second, metadata (e.g., the journal title, article titles, editors, and contributing authors) has been …read more