Signatures [080]

Abstract

Encoding of the collation of the document, recording both printed signatures as they appear on the page using <mw type="signature"> and also an idealized signature sequence using <milestone unit="sig"/>

Discussion

When encoding the signature reference system, we capture both the printed signatures as they appear on the page, and also the full idealized signature sequence.

We record the printed signature as it appeared on the page using <mw type="sig">. The <mw> element should be placed where the printed signature occurs on the page (usually right before the catchword, if any, or before the <pb/> element that marks the start of the following page).

We record the idealized signature number on the n= of a <milestone unit="sig"/>. The <milestone/> element should be placed at the top of the page, immediately following the <pb/> element for that page.

The idealization of the signatures as recorded on the n= of <milestone/> is as follows:

Every signature is recorded in a form which includes the letter or letters (or in rare cases the numbers) that identify the signature, the number of the leaf, and an indication of whether the page is a recto or verso, in the form “A1r”, “C5v”, etc.

Delimiters, punctuation, and spaces within the signature are omitted in the n= attribute, except where they serve to disambiguate two signatures. For instance, a text might have signatures marked A, B, B., C, where the “B.” signature might be a later insertion differentiated by the period from the regular B signature. In this case, the period would need to be retained in the idealized sequence to avoid ambiguity.

In cases where the printer has used U and V interchangeably (for instance, a series of signatures marked Uuu, Uvu2, Uvv3, Vuu4, or the like), the idealized sequence should eliminate this variation, and should record whatever sequence is implied by the general pattern of the other signatures. For instance, in a long text whose signatures run

A, B, C,...Z, Aa, Bb, Cc,...Uv, Ww

we idealize the “Uv” signature to “Uu”. Remember however that the actual printed signature as recorded in <mw> should represent exactly what is printed on the page without regularization of any sort.

Some special cases:

Numerical signatures: in cases where the signatures are numerical (as in some 19th-century American books), the leaf number are enclosed within parentheses to avoid ambiguity: 1(1)r, 1(1)v, 1(2)r, etc.

Offcuts: in some 19th-century American books the signature sequence includes a signature with an asterisk, usually on the third leaf of the gathering, which marks the start of the offcut (a smaller piece of paper included in the gathering). We ignore this asterisk in encoding the idealized signature sequence, so a printed sequence looking like this:

1, [blank], [blank], [blank], [blank],[blank], 1*

would be encoded with n= on <milestone/> like this:

1(1)r, 1(1)v, 1(2)r, 1(2)v, 1(3)r, 1(3)v (in other words, as if the asterisk were not there).

Tipped-in pages: the n= value of <milestone/> should refer to the signature of the facing page, e.g. “facing A2r”.

Preliminary material without signatures: we will follow the procedure recommended by Bowers and Tanselle, which is to use the Greek letter pi (entity &pgr;) for unsigned preliminary sheets, except where some ordinary letter could be reasonably inferred as part of the existing sequence. Thus (using “P” for &pgr;, and brackets to designate the inferred signatures):

        [P1r, P1v, P2r, P2v], A1r, A1v, A2r, A2v

    but

        [A1r, A1v, A2r, A2v], B1r, B1v, B2r, B2v, etc.

For unsigned signatures which are interpolated between regular signatures, or which appear at the end of the signature sequence, we follow Bowers/Tanselle in using the Greek letter khi (entity &khgr;); thus, using “K” for &khgr; and brackets to designate the inferred signatures:

        A1r, A1v, A2r, A2v, [K1r, K1v, K2r, K2v], B1r, B1v, B2r, B2v, etc.

Be VERY careful in making assumptions about interpolated signatures, and make certain that the unsigned leaves are really an interpolated signature and not just part of an ordinary signature. Remember that not all the leaves in a signature actually have the signature marked on them. Count pages carefully and seek help if you’re not absolutely sure of your results.

For texts with multiple signatures of the same letter, we encode the idealized signature sequence following the guidelines provided by Bowers (p.207), and refer to the second sequence as (e.g.) 2A1, 2A2, 2A3, 2A4, etc. Thus the following sequence of printed signatures:

    A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8,

    A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8,

    B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8,

    C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, ...

would be encoded as

    A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8,

    2A1, 2A2, 2A3, 2A4, 2A5, 2A6, 2A7, 2A8,

    B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8,

    C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, ...

This makes it impossible to sort the signatures correctly without some special treatment, but since this is the accepted scholarly method the WWP will just have to figure out how to perform the sorting.

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