The final fascicule of the DMLBS took a major step closer to the presses this week as we sent our finalized data to the typesetters. Preparing the data for sending has involved the team in a huge and exhausting amount of cross-checking of the text, reviewing for instance the citation references, mark-up, and etymologies.
A lot of this work is now automated: checking of the thousands of cross-references in a fascicule used to take weeks, while for the present fascicule the vast majority were checked by our customized electronic checking systems within 30 minutes. However, some aspects of checking require the expertise of the staff (e.g. to see that the references are in the correct format for the relevant work), and any problems identified by the checks require further research to resolve.
Another major aspect of this work has been checking the final batches of quotations, several hundred in number, in manuscript sources around the country. Dozens of manuscripts in libraries in Oxford, Cambridge, and London were checked, while the team decamped to the National Archives at Kew four times in little more than a fortnight to check quotations in assorted documents. Further items were checked via images available online, as, for instance, from AALT.
Having completed this final push, we can now look at the fruits of our labours almost immediately and start to enjoy the satisfaction of the successful completion of so many months’ hard work. This is because unlike the laborious process of the first fascicule, which was set from typescript by hand first as galley proofs (i.e. just as continuous columns not yet set as pages)* for correction before division into pages, we now upload our XML data via FTP to our specialist typesetters, who return hundreds of fully set ‘camera-ready’ PDF pages within hours. Now all we have to do is to check them …
*Like the current display at the British Academy, our Bodleian display in December will include some of the early galley proofs from C with their hand-written corrections.