Editing devices for collation (a brief list)

Volume Editors have many methods of comparing texts, some of which are text based (relying on typed text) and some of which are image based (relying on photographs or physical volumes). This is a very limited list. If you have other resources, please feel free to add them in the comments.

Volume Editors have many methods of comparing texts, some of which are text based (relying on typed text) and some of which are image based (relying on photographs or physical volumes). If you have other resources, please feel free to add them here.

Different methods, text-based or image-based, will work better depending on what  you’re comparing.

  1. EDITIONS, which will usually be set from different plates and have different typefaces and page numbers (e.g., Scribner’s first edition, Macmillan [British] first edition, and so on), can’t be compared with image-based technology because of the the differences in typefaces and pagination.  What’s on page 31 of the Scribner’s first edition of The House of Mirth will not be similar enough to what’s on page 31 of the Macmillan edition to make a comparison of individual words and letters possible, for the words will not be on the same lines. EDITIONS will need to be typed so that the text can be compared using Juxta or another text-based method.

The image on the left is from page 31 of the first Scribner’s edition of The House of Mirth; the second image is from page 31 of the Macmillan (British) first edition.

  1. PRINTINGS, which will be printed from the same plate as the first edition with the same typeface and page numbers, will differ little in appearance. The same material will be found on p. 3 of the Scribner’s edition, first printing and the Scribner’s edition, 5th printing, and the words will appear on the same line. PRINTINGS can be compared using image-based comparison methods like the Hinman or other image-based technologies. 

Text-based comparisons

Text-based comparisons let you look at the differences between two typed documents. Most of us are already used to doing this in Word, but Juxta Commons is useful for more complex comparisons.

Juxta Commonshttp://juxtacommons.org/  This easy-to-use and free software can compare two screens of text at once and can identify the differences by highlighting them. Juxta looks like this: juxta

To get typed text to compare, you might try these:

    1. Typing the volume into a text editor (like Notepad or Text Wrangler) or into Word.
    2. Using a typed version or the raw OCR (Optical Character Recognition) version found online that you proofread carefully against the copy-text volume (usually the first American edition).
    3. When raw OCR text comes out of the scanner, you’ll see that it is kind of a mess. There are odd characters, like ! instead of 1, m instead of rr, and even worse. You can see a little of this if you try to convert a .pdf document back into text using Google Docs.  Whenever scanned text is used, it has to be carefully proofread.You may see references to “cleaning” the raw OCR text. “Cleaning” is just a term from data processing; it means to correct the data (in this case the text) according to the scanned material so that it makes sense.
    4.  Adobe Acrobat Pro can turn .pdf files into  text, but the text it creates must be carefully proofread.
    5. Google Docs is supposed to be able to turn .pdf files into text, but the text it creates must be carefully proofread.
    6. Scanning the copy-text volume with a specialty software such as ABBYY Finereader https://www.abbyy.com/en-us/finereader/ This text must also be carefully proofread but is supposed to have fewer errors than other scanning to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) kinds of programs.


Image-based comparisons

If you have taken pictures of several printings of the volume you’ll be editing, image-based or digital comparison software will be helpful.

  1. Traherne Digital Collator, a free comparison and collation software. The Traherne Digital Collator compares two page images so that you can see differences between, say, the first and second printing of a volume.

The download links can be found here: https://oxfordtraherne.org/traherne-digital-collator/ and http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~vgg/software/traherne/. These methods work for different printings or states of the same edition but not for different editions that have different fonts.

In the screenshots below, the top image compares the first edition of The House of Mirth, from a copy in the Lilly Library, with a copy of the first edition in the Beinecke Library. Note the broken character on the running title (HOUSE), which is illuminated by a red color instead of purple in the second image.



2. Pocket Hinman. The Pocket Hinman is a free experimental app developed for James Ascher and DeVan Ard. It’s a free iPhone and Android app, available through the App store and here: https://rossharding.me/#/pockethinman/

The Pocket Hinman allows you to compare visually a volume that you’re looking at with a previous picture of a volume. Differences will stand out by flickering slightly.

Mechanical Comparators and Collators

If you live near a research library or are visiting one, you can use these older devices to compare physical volumes of the text: the two major kinds are the Hinman Collator and the Lindstrand Comparator.  Developed by Charlton Hinman from WWII bomb target technologies that compared two images and found slight differences by flickering images and used in creating comparative versions of the First Folio, the Hinman Collator can find small differences that indicate changes from one printing to the next.

Here’s an article that lists the locations of mechanical collators:

“Armadillos of Invention”: A Census of Mechanical Collators

Author(s): Steven Escar Smith Source: Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 55 (2002), pp. 133-170 Published by: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia

Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40372237 

Suggestions for Using Twitter

  1. Make your presence something that people will want to follow. You only have a few (less than 30) words for your description of yourself, so if you want a professional presence there, make those words count.
  2. You’re on Twitter basically for two reasons (1) to join conversations and add to them and (2) to provide value in the form of interesting information for your followers. You can do this through original information or posts, through likes, or through retweeting.
  3. A “like” helps you to save something for future reference and supports the original post; a retweet implies endorsement or information that you think others need to have. You can use the @ or hashtag # to call attention to the tweet if you think it would be useful or relevant for someone else.
  4. If you’ve just joined and are deciding whom to follow, try some of the following:
  5. Scholars in your area,
  6. Academic and research libraries and librarians, which often have great feeds featuring their collections as well as research grants. Beinecke Library, British Library, New York Public Library,
  7. Aggregator sites such as openculture or Century Past History.
  8. Groups–many scholarly societies have Twitter feeds (@SSAWWrs).
  9. Contemporary authors: Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood have active Twitter presences, for example.
  10. If you’re tweeting a conference panel:
  11. Be sure that it’s all right with the conference/panelists.
  12. Use the hashtag
  13. Don’t tweet individual tweets on the panel; instead, use a threaded tweet by replying to yourself. To post a series of individual tweets clogs up people’s twitter timelines.
  14. If there’s an unusual meme or piece of information, indicate where you got it. (This usually isn’t a problem if you’re retweeting, since the source is shown.)
  15. If you see a thread worth saving, you can use Threadreader to create it in one spot with https://twitter.com/threadreaderapp?lang=en
  16. You can choose to follow, unfollow, or mute people. You might discover that some people go on Twitter solely to promote themselves or their projects, so you might choose to follow them even if they never provide additional value in other ways.
  17. Follow junior scholars! A Twitter study a few years ago showed that users tended to follow those at or above their professional level, but that’s not the ethos you want.
  18. Set up your professional site (if WordPress) to post to Twitter and Facebook.

MLA Panel 8. Pacific Northwest Literary Regionalism: Acts of Recovery (January 8, 12-1:15)

I’ll be presenting a paper based on a section of my book manuscript Bitter Tastes: Naturalism, Early Film, and American Women’s Writing  at the Modern Language Association Convention in Vancouver, BC, on Thursday. It’s drawn from Chapter 2: “The Darwinists: Borderlands, Environment, and Evolution,”

8. Pacific Northwest Literary Regionalism: Acts of Recovery

Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 205, VCC West

A special session

Presiding: Laura Laffrado, Western Washington Univ.

1. “Carol Ryrie Brink and Moving Memory: A Novel Family History, from Caddie Woodlawn‘s Wisconsin to Buffalo Coat‘s Idaho,” Jana L. Argersinger, Washington State Univ., Pullman

2. “Batterman Lindsay’s Derelicts of Destiny and Pacific Northwest Native American Culture,” Donna M. Campbell, Washington State Univ., Pullman

3. “Besides the Bureau of American Ethnology: Recovering the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood as a Community of Native Writers,” Michael Taylor, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver

Bookmarking: Digital Literary Studies (journal) under development & DH journals

Penn State just announced a new, open-access journal under development, to be called Digital Literary Studies: http://journals.psu.edu/dls/index

Since this is basically a bookmarking post, here are some others:

Digital Humanities Quarterly: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/

Journal of Digital Humanities: http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/

Literary and Linguistic Computing: http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/   (not free or open access)
Digital Studies / Le champ numerique http://www.digitalstudies.org/ojs/index.php/digital_studies
Digital Humanities Now: http://digitalhumanitiesnow.org/
Here’s a good list of resources from Duke: http://guides.library.duke.edu/content.php?pid=129864&sid=1114041


A Companion to Digital Literary Studies: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companionDLS/

A Companion to Digital Humanities: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companion/

Debates in the Digital Humanities: http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/

University of Illinois Press series (not free or open access): http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/find_books.php?type=series&search=tdh

Lesson links:

Also bookmarking this set of tutorials at programminghistorian: http://programminghistorian.org/lessons/

Scholars’ lab: http://praxis.scholarslab.org/scratchpad/

NY Times: Coming Soon, a Century Late: A Black Film Gem


For decades, the seven reels from 1913 lay unexamined in the film archives of the Museum of Modern Art. Now, after years of research, a historic find has emerged: what MoMA curators say is the earliest surviving footage for a feature film with a black cast. It is a rare visual depiction of middle-class black characters from an era when lynchings and stereotyped black images were commonplace. What’s more, the material features Bert Williams, the first black superstar on Broadway. Williams appears in blackface in the untitled silent film along with a roster of actors from the sparsely documented community of black performers in Harlem on the cusp of the Harlem Renaissance. Remarkably, the reels also capture behind-the-scenes interactions between these performers and the directors.


Comment: This is good news indeed.