I should be modelling a final, but I wanted to nod enthusiastically to Caveat Lector's latest musings on the Google/scanning/Gorman kerfuffle. Also, I am more optimistic than she is about the eventual conversion of buckets of bitmap to useful digital texts.
As a friend of Distributed Proofreading, and a constant reader of its products, I feel that it will all work itself out eventually as long as the scanned images are available to anyone who's perplexed by a reading. (AFAIK the original books will also be as available as they used to be?) Eventually may be decades or centuries, but somebody will be gripped by the need to make this book a pleasure to read for all the people who really ought to read it. The more people the books have access to, the sooner each one will find its loving midwife. And the tools will get better - Dorothea's use of a concordance to backstop proofreading for scannos is GENIUS.
I wouldn't say PG has had scanning licked, actually; I have a Civil War book with every tip-in, pearl-font table, list of idiosyncratically spelled proper names, incredibly fine-engraved map you don't want to deal with, and a terribly broken five-inch spine; I think there's a orbital scanner in SF that I could use through DP, but I'm not in SF...
It is true that the text artisanry, the conversion of a collection of proofread pages to a coherent book, is the slowest point, probably the bottleneck, and (I fear) the part least amenable to someone casually coming by and fixing errors later. DP would be better off if it/they/we could teach/learn markup skills faster. I'm kind of perplexed by the TEI instructions I've found online, and I can't be the worst-prepared person looking; I can use LaTex, I've edited DTDs, I read books with Scholarly Apparatus. The online instructions seem to be reminders for people who have been taught by a human, as is proper for something both an art and a craft, but doesn't speed up a whole lot when done in BBS and IM. (In no way do I speak for DP, but I think this would not be a minority view in its forums.)
The University of Washington has a digital humanities ?minor?, including a course next quarter that probably touches text-artisanry and certainly discusses metadata. I cannot possibly fit this course in. It does make me wonder why literature and history classes don't do more proofing and markup, as, one might say, the letter-scale act of close reading.So wrote clew in Meta. | TrackBack