Friday, 26 June 2009

Editing for my supper

I am a compulsive editor. Sometimes I have to stop myself especially in situations where it would not be tactful or politically wise to point out errors. Point of enquiry: should one say anything to one’s child’s teacher if they have a spelling error on the blackboard? What about egregious misspellings or mis-pronunciation by a boss?

The hardest thing about the NLA’s online database of newspapers is that they are digital copies that have been scanned into the database. On the right hand side of the webpage is the image of the original printed page and on the left, is the digital “translation.” Users of the system can compare the two and edit the digital version. I have to fight every urge in my body not to simply sit and edit. For example, the scanning software routinely substitutes o’s for e’s or o’s for a’s or vice versa. Or puts in random letters when there are blobs of ink on the original.

I’ve had to make a policy decision so that my time is not entirely consumed by editing. I see on the NLA’s homepage that there are some hero editors whose edits number in the hundreds of thousands. I could become one of those or I could actually research my book and get closer to starting to write it. I’ve decided that I will edit anything that I use for my research – singing for my supper as it were and also out of gratitude that such an amazing resource is available. The rest I will do my best to close my eyes to.

Since it is Friday, I’ll leave you with a news report that tickled my fancy this morning. Stay safe this weekend and watch out for flying missiles of the domestic sort.

The Brisbane Courier
Saturday 8 September 1866

A DISTURBANCE arose in the Immigration
DepĂ´t yesterday evening amongst the immi-
grants by the ship Rockhampton, who came up
during the day. It was caused principally by
some of the married men, who objected to leave
the females' department at the hour appointed
by the regulations of the depot. At about 8
o'clock there was a sort of free fight, which
lasted until a detachment of police came in,
and during which missiles, such as teapots and
other kitchen utensils, were diligently used.
The police, after some trouble, succeeded in
securing two of the ringleaders, and marched
them off to the station. This appeared to have
a quieting effect upon the remainder, and com-
parative order was restored.

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