Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Step one...done! And now...

Last week I finished scanning the microfilm into .pdf format. Step one of the work is finished.

When I first got the microfilm, I thought the work would comprise about 300 pages.

The actual total: 1,131 pages. Yikes!

The text is divided into 19 treatises, of various lengths.

Now that the text has been scanned, I'm ready to move on to step 2. My team of translators and I will work on a relatively brief (@29 pages) treatise to get a sense of the linguistic form and theological content of the text. More to follow...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On another note...

...does anyone know how to add a Paypal widgit to a blog? I'd like to give anyone so moved the opportunity to help support the work as it goes forward. I hope to use some Latin students from GVSU to aid in the translation, for example, and it would be nice to offer some stipend, however minimal.

To scan or to type...

...that is the question, as I noted in a previous post.

This morning I typed in four pages.

Then I scanned the same four pages with Omnipage 14 (the OCR program I have).

There's no question that typing 1100 pages by hand would be a tedious endeavor.

But the OCR is tedious, too, and much more prone to errors than simply typing it out.

Several things lead to problems. First, the OCR program has trouble distinguishing between "f" and the 17th-century elongated "s", among some other letter combinations. Second, there's a fair amount of 'noise' (stray marks) which the OCR program wants to read as commas, periods etc. So even if the letter scanning were nearly 100% perfect, I'd still have to go through the whole thing again and fix the punctuation.

Maybe I should forget about trying to produce a machine-readable Latin text, and simply translate from the scans? Or separate the two endeavors, working more on the translation and do transcription as I have time?

Your input is welcome as always...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scanning marathon

This morning the power was out because of an overnight thunder storm. So I went into Grand Rapids and scanned more than 300 pages of Zernikav onto my thumb drive. My goal is to have all 1100 pages of it entered by next week--I have about 300 more to go.

Then I face the next problem: how to turn the scans into a computer file. I have a copy of OmniPage Pro 14 that I've tried as an experiment. It won't recognize some of the characters from 18th century books, such as the fancy "s", the "ct", and the "ae". So I'm weighing the pros and cons of simply typing the entire 1100 pages, vs. scanning and a careful check.

Monday, June 21, 2010

But wait...there's more!

After teaching logic this morning, I strolled over to the library to continue scanning the microfilm's pages. I knew I was getting close to the end, because the table of contents had specified the starting pages of the various sections. So when I get to what I think is the end, I read "End of Part I."

Oh, dear.

Then I skimmed forward to the table of contents for Part II.

It appears the work has 2 parts, which I didn't know until today.

And the grand total of pages to be scanned, typed and translated is:

1100 pages.

I now know what I'm doing with the rest of my life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

18 June 2010, cont'd.: Opening page, scanned

Here's a copy of the opening page of the work, scanned in .jpg format:

18 June 2010

I scanned some 30 more pages at the GR public library the other day, bringing the total number of pages scanned to 373. Also, I've begun the tedious task of typing (how's that for alliteration?) the manuscript pages into a Nota Bene file. Why Nota Bene? It's capable of multiple levels/kinds of notes, and is well suited to academic works. Besides, I've had it for some years and want to learn better how to use the program.

As I skim the work when printing and numbering the pages, there is a fair amount that will doubtless seem tedious to the casual reader: Zernikav details the edition and page number(s) from which he culls his excerpts. When it comes time to translate such passages, I'm likely to put those details down as footnotes, rather than leaving them in the body of the text. I think that if Zernikav were writing today, that's how he'd do it. I'd also like to start compiling a list of the authors he cites, and try to find up-to-date editions of them in order to make it easier for those who wish to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to do so.