My18th

New Featured TypeWright Text: 1703 Printing of a Dryden Play

Indian Emperour 1703_063630050000010_thumb

The Indian Emperour,
or the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards,

being the sequel of The Indian Queen.
John Dryden 1703 printing of a play.

This is the oldest TypeWright enabled version included in 18thConnect, of a play first produced in 1665, and first printed in 1667.  The play went through various printings, and we have editable copies from 1703, 1709, 1710, 1721 (2), 1724, 1735, 1750, 1754, 1755, 1759 in 18thConnect.

18thCollect gives access to a total of 48 copies of this play, some in collected works, that range in date from 1667 to 1759, indicating that it continued to be popular well into the 18th century.  All these are from either ECCO or the British Library’s “English Short Title Collection.”

This printed version displays many of the difficulties that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) programs encounter when applied to materials published in the 18th Century.  Most obvious is the long “s” which has been recognized as such in some instances here, but rendered incorrectly in others.  Another common rendering error replaces the combined c-t glyph with “&” or other interesting combinations.  Yet another common error for OCR rendered text, and one remarkably difficult to catch, renders lower-case “e” as lower-case “c.”

More errors arise when the scanned version shows extraneous black spots that appear for various reasons, from printing faults to soiling on the pages.  Such spots appear in ways that either obscure or mimic both letters and punctuation.

As you correct please remember, “If a word or portion of a word is illegible, type ‘@’ in its place; please do not make any guesses about what a word might be.”  If you have a question, or if you don’t, please remember to visit and contribute to our new discussion forum for “TypeWright Questions and Answers.”

Do you have a text you would like to suggest?  Tell us about it at our other new Forum “TypeWright ‘Featured Item’ Suggestions.”

Anne Arundel

Scaredy Cat?

 

bastet
Bastet, Egyptian cat goddess of the Second Dynasty

Contrary to modern superstitions, the black cat was originally seen as a symbol of luck and prosperity dating back to 2890 BC in Egypt. In that time, the cat goddess Bastet was worshipped by Egyptians; she was believed to bless those who hosted black cats in their homes.

charles
King Charles I of England, 1625-1649

 

 

 

 

 

Over 4,000 years later, Charles I of England supposedly treasured a black cat in his home to bring him good luck.The story goes that the day Charles’ cat passed away, he claimed that his luck was gone and was arrested for treason the next day (March 1641).

black cat
Witch and a Black Cat, by Unknown, from “The Picture Magazine”, 1894

 

Despite these positive associations, black cats became symbols of witchcraft and evil beginning in the late Middle Ages throughout the Renaissance and Puritan era. Black cats were drowned and killed on spot as they were considered inherently evil and agents of Satan. As the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve gradually turned into the tradition we know today, black cats and witches became synonymous with October and Halloween festivities.

So whether you believe that they will bring you good luck or misfortune, it is clear black cats have an interesting and mysterious history that continues to fascinate cultures to this day.

Have more interest in the history and lore of black cats? Be sure to visit 18th Connect to find various images, poems, and historical documents that revolve around this mysterious (and nefarious) animal.

Images provided by the New York Library Digital Collection

 

Written by Taylor Phillips

Good News Proceeds from “Bugs”

Greetings and Salutations!

Due to some changes in our infrastructure, we’ve had a few glitches here and there over the past week.  Thank you for the error emails!  We are working on the problem, and hope to have it fixed soon.

The good news is that the server and infrastructure for the TypeWright application is now stable and secure at Texas A&M University.  We have also updated our code base, so you should notice some improvements to Collex and TypeWright.

One of my favorite things to do on 18thConnect is collecting items.  I get chills just to think of how easy it is to find material using this digital aggregation of resources!  New services always have bugs, however, and we have recently experienced some interesting ones connected with our personal “My18th” pages.  You can help us to solve the programming puzzles by letting me know about problems you have had with your collected items as they appear on your “My18th” page.

political_locust

 

To help us transform these “bugs” into “good news,” please include the following information in your e-mail:

  • A short description of the problem you have (to be especially helpful send a screen shot).
  • Does the problem affect all of your newly collected items, or only some?
  • Does the problem affect any of your previously collected items?
  • If not all of your items are affected, the URI for the affected item(s).
  • Whether or not using another browser (Mozilla, Chrome, Safari, etc.) solves the problem.

Your help will minimize the disruptions to all the great advantages that the 18thConnect brings to your research!  To report errors, send an email to technologies@18thconnect.org, or liz@18thconnect.org, or simply hit the Contact Us link on the site.

Anne Arundel

New Featured TypeWright Text: September 2013: The Plenipotentiary 1787

Greetings and Salutations!

Please let me introduce myself, Anne Arundel Locker-Thaddeus, as the new graduate research assistant for ARC, the Advanced Research Consortium.  A Texan by birth, I am a folklore scholar working on my Ph.D. in Anthropology at Texas A&M University.  My areas are contemporary folklore of Mexican Americans and folkloric processes.  However, my amateur interest in the 18th century began with Georgette Heyer novels in my teens—we all have to start somewhere!—and continues today.

One of my tasks is to choose items to feature in TypeWright!   My first selection is already posted on the site, but I would welcome suggestions from any of you out there who run across interesting (editable) material.

 


 

Plenipotentiary

 

The Plenipotentiary (1787)

The Plenipotentiary is a three-volume British periodical that satirizes the latecentury politics.

Metadata about the work is very sparse, giving little indication of authors and editors.  The work has been mechanically typed but the transcription needs correcting: if you are interested in reading it, click here!

Anne Arundel, the 18th century dilettante

“May you live in interesting times!”  (Purported Chinese curse.)

eMOP Project at Texas A&M Receives Funding from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Early Modern OCR Project

English Professor Laura Mandell, Director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), along with two co-PIs Professor Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna and Professor Richard Furuta, are very pleased to announce that Texas A&M has received a 2-year, $734,000 development grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Early Modern OCR Project (eMOP, http://emop.tamu.edu). The two other project leaders, Anton DuPlessis and Todd Samuelson, are book historians from Cushing Rare Books Library.

Over the next two years, eMOP will work to improve scholarly access to an extensive early modern text corpus. The overarching goal of eMOP is to develop new methods and tools to improve the digitization, transcription, and preservation of early modern texts.

The peculiarities of early printing technology make it difficult for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to discern discrete characters and, thus, to render readable digital output. By creating a database of early modern fonts, training the software that mechanically types page images (OCR) to read those typefaces, and creating crowd-sourced correction tools, eMOP promises to improve the quality of digital surrogates for early modern texts. Receiving this grant makes possible improving the machine-translation of digital page images with cutting-edge crowd-sourcing and OCR technologies, both guided by book history. Our goal is to further the digital preservation processes currently taking place in institutions, libraries, and museums globally.

The IDHMC, along with our participating institutions and individuals, will aggregate and re-tool many of the recent innovations in OCR in order to provide a stable community and expanded canon for future scholarly pursuits. Thanks to the efforts of the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) and its digital hubs, NINES, 18thConnect, ModNets, REKn and MESA, eMOP has received permissions to work with over 300,000 documents from Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), totaling 45 million page images of documents published before 1800.

The IDHMC is committed to the improvement and growth of digital projects and resources, and the Mellon Foundation’s grant to Texas A&M for the support of eMOP will enable us to fulfill our promise to the scholarly community to educate, preserve, and develop the future of humanities scholarship.

For further information, including webcasts describing the problem and the grant application as submitted, please see the eMOP website.


For more information on our project partners, please see the following links.
ECCO at Gale-Cengage Learning
EEBO at ProQuest
Performant Software
SEASR
Professor Raghavan Manmatha at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
The IMPACT project at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek – National Library of the Netherlands
PRImA at the University of Salford Manchester
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University
The Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture, Texas A&M University
Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
The OCR Summit Meeting Participants

For more ARC and IDHMC news, please see the following links.
Texas A&M to House Digital Literary Consortium
18thConnect
NINES
MESA to Receive Funding
REKn to Partner with ARC

Image of the Week: Female Friendship in 18thC


To Miss Anne Wagner.

To Miss Anne Wagner. (Elizabeth Venables, Abergale, 29th July 1803)

Celebrate female friendship this week by investigating the friendship book of Anne Wagner, or the Anne Wagner album, 1795-1834. (Also called the Anne Wagner keepsake album, 1795-1834 and Souvenir D’Amitié.)

Searchable in 18thConnect, this friendship book is hosted on the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. The album contains missives, watercolors, and collages to and from Anne Wagner from 1795-1834. As seen above, friendship books are fragile, usually containing locks of hair and many forms of creative expression on each page. The image above was authored by Elizabeth Venables in Abergale, Wales in the summer of 1803, and the token contains a lock of hair with blue ribbon, decorative pasted border, and various other layers that create a multi-media collage representing the friendship between two women.

Written at the end of July, the message relays a tone that conveys both the inevitable passing of time and an unchanging, solid relationship. Anne Wagner was a member of the Shelly Circle and resident of Liverpool, England.

Source(s):

Anne Wagner keepsake album, 1795-1834. NYPL.org. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle. Web. 2 Aug. 2012.