Patrick asks to what extent REED is presently available in electronic
form. The answer is to a limited extent.
To quote my favourite character in one of my favourite films: "Let me
'splain... No, that take too long... Let me sum up"
Until Lancashire, it was not possible for us to make an electronic
form of the final text, the one which was typeset, available to
anyone, either because it didn't exist in an electronic form (when we
were still typesetting on Mag-card Composers) or existed only under a
proprietary operating system (when we typeset on a Linotype
phototypesetter). What we have made available from that period are
earlier stages in the editing process, that is, the versions of the
text used to generate the concordances which we use for glossing and
indexing. It is a stage prior to first proof and contains embedded
COCOA-style headers and some mark-up coding. These texts are available
for bona fide researchers from OTA and the Text Archive at CCH here at
UofT, but they really need to be used only in close comparison to the
published texts for obvious reasons. REED explicitly retains its copyright.
Such texts exist for Herefordshire/Worcestershire, Devon, Cumberlandshire/
Westmorlandshire/Gloucestershire, Norwich 2, and Newcastle. The
pre-Newcastle collections (York, Coventry, Chester) existed in
electronic form only on a reel of magnetic tape stored in the Sir
Sandford Fleming Building which was damaged in a fire..... Cambridge
changed so much, due to research undertaken subsequent to the
concordance run, that we didn't think it was fair to make an earlier
version available even with provisos. We had hoped to scan those four
texts but have not yet had the resources to devote to that effort.
With Lancashire, we began a new era, typesetting on a Mac, and
theoretically it is possible to retrieve the text from the Mac, put it
back on the PC and make it available to the two text archives in ASCII
format, but I confess that there simply hasn't been time.
Now, all this applies to records text only. None of the apparatus or
modern prose sections of the volumes have ever been made available in
electronic form by us. There are discussions going on right now
between the REED Executive and the University of Toronto Press about
possible electronic publication of the series and naturally REED
wouldn't do anything "unilateral" while those discussions are still
going on. I will make this electronic discussion available to those
who will be involved, since I think that the community of potential
users of HyperREED or Electronic REED is a valuable resource....
Patrick also makes mention of SGML, the Standardised General Mark-up
Language. I think it is a very good thing to adopt for anything made
publicly or commercially available. Before there was TEI or (I think)
SGML, a mark-up system was developed for REED by Willard McCarty (who
then worked here); Bill Rowcliffe, our typesetter; and myself. It
delimits or describes fount changes, note text, and various
codicological features; represents non-Roman characters; and encodes
abbreviated document headings and manuscript designations. We use a
series of preprocessing programs (which I wrote) to convert to
COCOA-style headers and a simplified mark-up for the concordance and
to convert to typesetting codes. It would probably be a relatively
simple task to convert to SGML also.
I hope this explanation isn't too detailed, but I wanted to respond to
Patrick's points as clearly as possible.