Sometimes We Fail, But That’s Great

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By jsingles


Working for the William Blake Archive has been exceptionally exciting this semester. Two major project teams are striving to arrive at a better understanding of how to encode some of Blake’s least audience-friendly works: The Four Zoas and his marginalia. The process of approaching these works has required patience, and for every successful moment there have been multiple failures. But these failures are not meaningless, or at least I like to think so. My recent encoding attempts of Blake’s marginalia have not been used by the team as a model of what to do. Quite the opposite, my encoding attempts have consistently been used by the team as examples of what we want to avoid, and I think that’s useful.

Since we are still in the exploratory stages of creating an encoding schema for Blake’s marginalia, every couple weeks the team chooses a couple marginalia objects, and each team member attempts to encode those same objects using the ideas and new approaches we discuss in our meetings. This allows everyone to test our ideas and see what works and what doesn’t. For the past few weeks, I have found myself working in the office alongside other members of the marginalia team. …read more