Such is Life Archive Update

For Furphy scholars attending ASAL2014, this is a brief snapshot of the Furphy Electronic Archive. I would like to establish a more formal advisory group at the conference. Please contact me if you are interested in joining.

Transcriptions have been completed for all the versions of interest. They are awaiting checking and final correction before full-blown annotation and commentary can begin. Below is a snapshot of a page of the Such is Life manuscript in the AustESE WorkBench Editing Interface. Credit must go to Anna Gerber, Desmond Schmidt and Damien Ayers for their work on the AustESE Project at Professor Jane Hunter’s UQ eResearch Group. It has been a pleasure and an education to work with them.

AustESE WorkBench Interface for Transcription.

AustESE WorkBench Interface for Transcription.

Using an ontology (similar to the FRBR used by AustLit) which Anna Gerber and I designed for the WorkBench, all of the “works”, “versions”, and “artefacts” can be viewed in many different ways, including the “Reading View” (below) where I expect most registered users will create their annotations. Filtering and search options will soon be added to the project, allowing readers to view annotations by creator, category, or tag. The screenshot below shows the reading view with annotations. My primary aim is to use the annotation tool to write a comprehensive “Textual Commentary” on the 1898 Typescript. This commentary will ultimately support (and provide an archive for) several chapters of a book I plan to write on the textual and cultural history of Such is Life.

AustESE Reading View with Annotations

AustESE Reading View with Annotations

The Reading View also provides access to side-by-side views of versions with variation highlighted. This feature is supported by Desmond Schmidt’s Multi-Version Documents. Currently, each chapter of Such is Life is broken down into smaller sections for processing, but in the near future I expect to be able to process the entire novel. See Desmond’s blog for an update on this exciting prospect. The archive provides side-by-side comparison views of all versions of Such is Life, Rigby’s Romance, and The Buln-buln and the Brolga. This includes the Palmer abridgement for English readers, published by Jonathan Cape in 1937.

Side-by side comparison of the first edition with the Palmer abridgement.

Side-by-side comparison of the first edition with the Palmer abridgement.

In the short term, the AustESE WorkBench will provide the primary interface for viewing the transcriptions and page images, but a number of export options can be considered to enable viewing on other platforms, including e-readers, apps, and books. The advisory group will play an important part in imagining the possibilities for these alternative views. Outcomes from any ASAL meetings will be posted here in the future.

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