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WWP Training Materials

Encoding forme work

On signatures

What is a "signature" and where is it found?

Signatures are alphabetical and alphanumeric codes that appear at the bottom of certain pages (generally right-hand pages) to indicate to the printer and bookbinder the ordering of pages in a volume. Typically, signatures run from A through Z, sometimes omitting certain letters (such as J and V) and sometimes adding a number to a letter (so that a series would run X, X2, Y, Y2, etc.) and usually doubling the letter or placing a two before the letter when the series passes Z (so that the series runs Z, Z2, Aa, Aa2 or Z, 2A, 2B).

If you're not familiar with signatures, their formats, and their history please read the background offered in our "Intro to Early Modern Texts"

How does the WWP encode signatures?

The WWP's encoding for signatures is very similar to its encoding of page numbers. We record the actual printed characters on the page using <mw type="sig">. We record the value of the signature--in other words, its significant information--using <milestone unit="sig">.

In recording the printed characters on the page, we omit characters which are simply delimiters, such as parentheses or brackets surrounding the signature. The only time we encode brackets or parentheses which accompany signatures is when they are used to differentiate between two different signature sequences; in other words, where they contribute to the informational content of the signature.

Additional discussion of the encoding of signatures can be found in our encoding documentation. There is also a discussion of reference systems in the Introductory Tutorial for New Encoders Tutorial.

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This document last updated Thursday, 22-May-2014 13:40:21 EDT