On fragmentation and handwriting!

As my classmates, I found it very hard to read the manuscript. I also had the feeling it was not going to be that hard: as a teacher I am very used to the most bizarre handwritings, but this was a puzzle for me. Second, as not being native English, it was more difficult to guess! Sometimes I did not know if the phrase or word I was reading belonged to the time Bentham wrote or it was more modern. The same with old words that I never heard of before. I searched on dictionaries, texts by Benham, I opened other folios. I do not know if I am the right person to work with an archive in a language other than the ones I know well! But sometimes it could be productive, as a foreign view is always interesting and helpful.

There were moments that I did not understand what I was transcribing as a text: I had just words with a minimum of cohesion and coherence. I had a feeling of complete fragmentation! I think that the exercise was good to see how fragmented digital texts are, how we face fragmentation everywhere working in DH. We were working with just a tiny part of the gigantic Bentham’s work, and in my case, knowing just what Foucault said about panopticons and nothing else. The good is that now I know a lot more about Bentham, his life and his work.

I must admit that I liked it a lot transcribing and encoding. When I began transcribing I found the tool bar very easy to use! But it was not so easy for me to find a folio to transcribe, I selected this one using the random option and it turned out to be easy level. But I had problems to read three little words, even though I spent many days trying to figure them out.
I received an answer, and it was accepted! I was surprised to know that the transcript was right! I just missed a few words (mainly because of the crossing outs), but the rest was ok. I received a text saying that it was “far from the easiest manuscript to transcribe, so this is a great effort!”

I found it very interesting having been part of a project that thinks of the importance of preservation (and I agree with Mary’s words), and in which many people are involved (volunteer transcribers, historians, editors, digital humanists, etc.) I liked the idea I was helping to the project, creating something new, doing, building.


One thought on “On fragmentation and handwriting!

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

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