About the electronic "Lady Freedom Among Us."

This electronic version of Rita Dove's "Lady Freedom Among Us" has been prepared at the University of Virginia by David Seaman, Electronic Text Center and Rick Provine, Multimedia Resource Center. Rick was responsible for the sound files and the sections on Rita Dove, Claire van Vliet, the Libraries' celebration, and the statue; David prepared the electronic text and images of the poem itself.

The SGML text:

This text conforms to the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines. A copy of it is part of the Modern English section of our on-line archive of electronic texts. The TEI text was then converted automatically to HTML, using a filter developed at the Etext Center, and for reasons of appearance the TEI header was displaced to a button at the bottom of the HTML file.

HTML used through a web client is a useful and exciting way to disseminate an electronic poem, but the HTML tagset is not really suitable for describing the structure of a literary work. It is much better to use a form of SGML that suits the type of text being marked up, and then to convert (to "dumb down") to HTML.

The images of the text:

The images of the pages of Claire Van Vliet's extraordinary book were scanned in the Electronic Text Center as 24-bit color, 300 dpi images, and then the JPEG images used here were created, to turn the multi-megabyte archival originals into files of 40-50K, suitable for use on the Web.

Like any TEI text, the electronic text prior to its conversion to HTML contains a descriptive header. A version of this header has been inserted into the binary code of the JPEG images, to make sure that these images, once loose on the Web, carry with them always a description of their origin and a reference to the text to which they belong. A similar practise is being adopted for the images in the UVa British Poetry Archive, and will be a regular feature of the illustrations in a large group of Modern English public domain texts that are on the Electronic Text Center's web server.

We hope that others will adopt the practise of adding text into the code of images that they post on Web servers, and will publish the process we use to do this soon.

In addition to the bibliographical header, we also added into the code of these images the few lines of text that are on each page. When we have software that can search, rather than simply browse, ASCII text in image files, then these images will be keyword-searchable.

David Seaman
Electronic Text Center