Electronic Texts and Images
Executive Director, Digital Library Federation
Taught by David Seaman at Rare Book School since 1995, "Electronic Texts and Images" offers a practical exploration of the research, preservation, editing, and pedagogical uses of electronic texts and images in the humanities.
The course is aimed primarily (although not exclusively) at scholars keen to develop, use, and publish electronic texts as part of their own textual, research, and pedagogical work, and at librarians planning to develop an etext operation. Drawing on the experience and resources available at UVa's Electronic Text Center (of which David Seaman used to be Director), the course covers the following areas:
- Extensible Markup Language (XML) tagging and conversion;
- Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)
- The Text Encoding Initiative and its Initiative Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange (P4) ;
- using scanners to create etexts and archival-quality digital image facsimiles;
- publishing on the World Wide Web;
- text and image analysis tools;
- and the management and use of online collections.
As a focus for the study of etexts, the class creates an electronic version of a printed or hand-written text, marks its structure with SGML tagging, creates digital images of sample pages and illustrations, creates an Encoded Archival Description guide, and makes it all available on the Internet. To explore the flexibility of SGML tagging and to make available rare texts, class projects typically focus on manuscript materials, such as letters, broadsides, diary entries, and literary manuscripts held by Special Collections at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library.
The electronic texts produced for these projects become a part of the Electronic Text Center's Modern English Collection, and are also available at the sites listed below.
Current Course — 2005
Civil War letters from the University of Virginia Special Collections Department
- 2004, Electronic Texts and Images
- 2003, Electronic Texts and Images
- 2002, Electronic Texts and Images
- 2001, Electronic Texts and Images
- 2000, Electronic Texts and Images
- 1999, Electronic Texts and Images:
Edgar Allan Poe letters
from the University of Virginia and from the Poe Museum and the Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA.
This multi-institution collection includes selections of Poe's letters from the Special Collections Department at University of Virginia Library; the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia: and the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia.
- 1998, Electronic Texts and Images:
Letters from Former Slaves Settled in Liberia, 1834-1866
In 1834, Samson Ceasar, a former Virginian slave, travelled to Liberia, which had been founded by the American Colonization Society in 1820. In 1857, the slaves of James Hunter Terrell (1783?-1856) were granted their freedom so that they, too, could travel to Liberia with the help of the American Colonization Society. Samson Ceasar, and the ex-slaves of Terrell wrote to correspondents in the United States to request supplies, to inquire about friends and family in the United States, and to describe their new home. In their letters, these recent immigrants describe the joyful but difficult process of building a new life in Liberia, discussing such topics as settling at Clay Ashland, Monrovia, and Careysburg, constructing homes, planting and harvesting crops, and coping with disease and death. This digital collection includes both original and modernized versions of the letters; digital images that are available in large or small sizes; the EAD guide; and links to related resources.
- 1997, Electronic Texts & Images
: The John and James Booker Civil War Letters
From 1861 to 1864, twin brothers James and John Booker wrote to their cousin Chloe Unity Blair about their experiences while serving in the Confederate Army. In their letters, the Bookers, who were members of Company D of the 38th Virginia, express relief at narrowly escaping capture at Gettysburg, complain about the privileges unfairly granted to officers, and tout the religious revivals occuring in camp. This digital collection includes both modernized and original versions of the letters; images of the manuscript pages available at low, medium, or high quality; the EAD guide; and background information about the Bookers, their family, their regiment, and the incidents they describe.
- 1996, Electronic Texts :
19th-Century American Literature: Manuscripts and Typescripts
Making use of Special Collections' extensive collections in American literature, class members created electronic texts and digital images of a variety of nineteenth century manuscripts and typescripts. This digital collection includes letters written by Lydia Maria Child; manuscripts of Cooper's prefaces to The Water Witch and to Pathfinder; letters, reviews, and a will from the Charles Brockden Brown collection; political broadsides; a note of indenture; and more.
- 1995, Electronic Texts:
African-American Resources at the University of Virginia
This project focuses on on late eighteenth and early nineteenth century texts dealing with slavery and the African-American experience. Class members created electronic texts of sixteen documents held by Special Collections at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library, including an anti-slavery circular (1794); a broadside song in which a woman taken into slavery laments her fate (1795); a letter by a Southern planter accusing Thomas Jefferson of undermining slavery (1796); a diary entry describing the slave tradein Havanna (1816); a receipt for the sale of a slave (1816); broadsides advertising for runaway slaves (1839, 1840); registers of slaves (1841); Thomas Wentworth Higginson's manuscript of a petition for the equal pay of African-American troops (1864); and letters by both slave-owners and freed slaves (1855, 1856, 1858).
Introduction to the Internet
This course offered a practical introduction to the Internet, covering topics such as accessing and navigating the Net; electronic discussion groups and library catalogs; strategies for finding information; and what to expect in the near future. Course members gained hands-on experience in a range of on-line resources, including email, the World Wide Web, and Gopher servers.