Using the Shelley-Godwin Archive

The following guidelines are meant to serve as a brief tour through the Shelley-Godwin Archive and to offer suggestions about how best to explore the deep functionality that is available to users while interacting with the manuscript images and transcriptions.

Browser Compatibility

During this public beta release of the Archive, we recommend using Google's Chrome browser, the latest version of Safari, or the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. Safari is available in the recently released Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9) operating system update. We have experienced technical problems with earlier versions of Safari in displaying the manuscript images and transcriptions in the main view pane. We expect to sort out these technical problems shortly and will post an announcement on the Archive's home page when all major browsers become fully supported.

Accessing Archive Materials

The Shelley-Godwin Archive is designed so that users can easily navigate, browse, and search for manuscript images and transcriptions. The main menu items — "Home Page," "About," "Frankenstein," "Search," and "Using the Archive" — are accessible from any page. As more items are added to the Archive, "Works" will replace "Frankenstein."

The contents of the Archive are cataloged by notebook or manuscript, work, and author. The metadata associated with each manuscript page can be grouped together in a number of useful ways by creating a "manifest." For the Frankenstein manuscript drafts, for example, there are four physical manifests (one for each notebook) that list the shelfmark and the description of the notebook:

  1. Draft Notebook A: MS Abinger c. 56 and MS Abinger c. 57 (fols. 1r through 18v)
  2. Draft Notebook B: MS Abinger c. 57
  3. Fair-Copy Notebook C1: MS Abinger c. 58
  4. Fair-Copy Notebook C2: MS Abinger c. 58

And three logical manifests that arrange the manuscript contents into a specified sequence:

  1. Volume I Draft in Chapter Sequence
  2. Volume II Draft in Chapter Sequence
  3. Volume III Fair Copy in Chapter Sequence

The "Draft Manuscript in Chapter Sequence" manifests create a chapter by chapter sequence of manuscript pages from the two Frankenstein rough draft notebooks. A logical manifest provides the user a view of the images and transcriptions in the order in which they are meant to be placed in the final text if the physical manuscript sequence is out of order. Similarly, the "Fair Copy in Chapter Sequence" manifest groups together manuscript pages across the two Frankenstein fair-copy notebooks and arranges them into one sequence.

After clicking on Frankenstein in the the main menu, each of the manuscript notebooks are displayed. The manuscript images associated with a particular notebook can be selected by clicking on the arrow to the right of the notebook title. In the image below, the contents of Draft Notebook A (MS Abinger c. 56 and c. 57 [fols. 1r - 18v]) are revealed after clicking the arrow and can be collapsed by clicking the arrow again. Hovering over an image with the cursor displays the manuscript shelfmark, folio number, and the state of the transcription and metadata. A red dot indicates that no transcription is yet available, a yellow dot indicates that a basic transcription has been created but not yet vetted, and a green dot indicates that the transcription has been fully encoded and vetted (see the "Encoding the Shelley-Godwin Archive" section for more information).

Notebook View

Main Page View

Clicking on a thumbnail image will open the main page view pane. The main page view displays the metadata associated with the manuscript page and image, the color-coded status of the transcription and metadata (see "Encoding the Shelley-Godwin Archive"), and the viewing panes for the manuscript image and transcription.

Main Page View

The following range of viewing options are available in the toolbar above the view panes.

Reset Zoom returns the image to its default size.
Zoom In enlarges the image.
Zoom Out reduces the image. Zooming in and out can also be activated by using the mouse's scroll wheel.
View Image Only expands the image pane to fill the viewing area.
Standard View displays the manuscript image alongside the diplomatic transcription. This is the default view.
View Reading Text displays a redacted transcription that removes deleted text, metamarks, and paratextual items, and places added text in its correct location. The reading text represents a provisional "final intention" of the draft text. No editorial emendations are made by S-GA editors.
TEI View displays the raw XML-encoded transcription.

The search box will yield results only for the the manuscript page selected. Clicking on the dropdown arrow next to the search box will enable the user to limit the search by hand(s) and text type (additions and deletions).

There are two ways to navigate through the manuscript pages. The vertical slider along the right-hand side of the transcription is useful for moving across a large number of pages. The shelfmark and folio numbers are displayed as the slider is moved. The four navigation buttons above the right side of the transcription return to the first page of the notebook, move to the previous page, move to the next page, and move to the last page of the notebook, respectively.

The manuscript image and transcription viewing areas are scalable, so expanding the web browser itself to fill the computer screen will provide the maximum viewing area in which to study and compare the details of the physical document that our high resolution images reveal. The images and transcriptions are displayed most accurately by choosing "View Actual Size" in the browser's "View" menu.

Viewing the Transcription

Our encoded transcriptions represent as accurately as possible the topographical writing as it appears on the manuscript document. There are, of course, limitations to encoded transcriptions versus facsimile reproductions. XML encoding is designed to capture the meaning of textual relationships rather than their display. We cannot, for example, replicate the variety of markings for deletions, exact placement of added text, certain transposition markings, or scribbles and other figures, to name but a few peculiarities associated with hand-written documents. These types of markings are best understood by comparing the transcription against the manuscript image as a point of reference.

The transcriptions do, however, represent the following revision categories in a visually identifiable way:

1. Deletions are displayed in gray font to distinguish them from retained text, which is in black font, and strikethroughs are displayed when marked on the manuscript. Deletions indicated by a vertical strike line on the manuscript are displayed in gray font only.
2. Additions are displayed in italics.
3. Text added above or below a line is displayed as an interlinear addition as indicated in the manuscript.
4. Inline additions and overwritten text are displayed in their proper location. For example, "their" changed to "these" displays as "theirse", indicating that "ir" was overwritten with "se."

Viewing Shifts in Hand

Limit View

For manuscripts that contain writing by more than one author, the main view pane will include the option to isolate the writing of each participant so that the user may study the contributions of each author in greater detail and with more clarity. This function is particularly useful in the Frankenstein manuscripts, where Percy Shelley adds a number of substantive editorial emendations and suggestions to Mary Shelley's rough draft.

The two images below show how the writing of Mary and Percy are isolated when clicking on an author in the Limit View panel. The writing of the selected author appears in red font and that of the other is slightly faded to make it easy for the user to study the contributions of each. The first image shows Mary's original draft and revisions, the second shows Percy's subsequent contributions.

Mary Shelley's handwriting isolated:


Percy Shelley's handwriting isolated:


Searching and Refining Results

A basic search will yield results for all content in the Archive. The results can then be sorted by manuscript source (notebook), work, author (hand), and types of revisions. In the example below, a search for "monster" yields thirty-six results across four sources in the "Notebook" panel.

Search Results

The "Hand" panel indicates that "monster" appears thirty four times in Mary Shelley’s hand and twice in Percy Shelley’s hand. The "Revisions" panel further refines the search results by indicating instances where "monster" was either deleted or added during the composition process. Clicking on a sub-category within a panel will display only manuscript images associated with that sub-category, and clicking on a specific manuscript image will bring up the page view described above.

As we refine the search capabilities of the Archive, more categories of revisions will be filtered. Results for added and deleted passages will be further refined to include substitutions, retraced text, restored text, transposed text, and alternative text. These types of revisions are encoded in our transcriptions but are, for now, only accessible when viewing a single manuscript image and transcription. Choosing the "TEI View" button to display the XML-encoded transcription will allow the user to see the tagged text associated with these revisions, which at this time may not be easily identifiable in the standard transcription view. We also plan to enable searches for revision categories themselves and to isolate revision types in the same way different authors can now be isolated. See "Encoding the Shelley-Godwin Archive" for a more detailed explanation of the encoding schema and the types of information it captures.

If you have any questions about the Shelley-Godwin Archive or would like to offer suggestions about how we can enhance its functionality and usability, please contact us at