I believe that this kind of engagement with text helps us better understand the subject matter. Relationships between characters, places, and objects are better understood.
The work with Edgar Allen Poe and the Declaration of Independence assignments were vastly different from each other. Edgar Allen Poe wrote the “Tell Tale Heart,” and, instead of factual information, was creative writing. Therefore, using this to the best of my knowledge, I needed to know mainly, persNames vs. roleNames and objectTypes vs. placeNames. This is a challenge I had before when writing about James Merrill Linn. I had decided to make “old man” a roleName, even though, originally I had him as a persName. He was one of the main characters besides for the narrator, but because they never referred to him as his surname or forename, he “old man” played just a role in the story. Also, at the beginning of the poem, this man was referred to as “old man” and as the poem progressed, he was referred to as the “victim,” which inherently I also made a roleName. Because this character took on so many different states in the poem, he was a very transient character, so he experienced many shifts in roles.
Another difficult part of marking up the “Tell Tale Heart” was distinguishing some objectTypes vs. placeNames. I ended up calling “floor,” a placeName rather than an objectType; the murder occurred in a bedroom and the victim was on the floor. The location of the victim was the floor, and I consider a location a place. People may disagree with this aspect of my mark-up style, but it is just a personal stylistic choice that I have made.
Working on the Declaration of Independence piece, I found it more tedious but more straightforward. We were given instructions one what was to be included and did not have much freedom in the style of our markup. I completely understand why this was the way it was. Because we were working on a collaborative document, there needs to be a sense of uniformity. On the “Tell Tale Heart,” I was working alone, so the stylistic choices I had made did not affect other members of my group. As Pierazzo writes, “two scholars, given the same transcriptional criteria, are most likely not to produce the same transcription of the same exemplar” (465). For the second assignment, our works had to be cohesive. Also, especially because it is a historical document, it is important to only state factual evidence and facts. We were not working on a creative piece but rather a straightforward historical document.
Text markup during the “Tell Tale Heart” was much more about objective information and organizing the text into categories. During this markup, we had to be careful to make sure that it was just a “revision” of the original text and work. The “Declaration of Independence” text markup was more about providing information in a manner that was independent from other information in the work. When doing the “Declaration of Independence” project, we were essentially creating new work based off the old work, because we were adding new information. As Rasmussen states, “still, the boundaries are fluid here; only concrete individual assessments can determine whether it is appropriate to speak of a new work” (122). So, was are “Declaration of Independence” project a new work? Or was it just a new “edition”?