Archive for December, 2013

Progress update, 14 to 20 December 2013, and UCL closure

By Tim Causer, on 20 December 2013

Welcome along to the progress update for 14 to 20 December 2013, which is also our 200th post on the blog! Excellent progress has been made during the last seven days: 11,603 words of text have been transcribed, along with a further 4,740 words of TEI XML.

6,646 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 46 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 6,357 (95%) are complete and locked after having been checked by Transcribe Bentham staff.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Over the last few months, we have added more and more new material to the Transcription Desk for transcription. These unpublished manuscripts include material relating to the final failure of Bentham’s panopticon penitentiary scheme and evidence of the scale of his bitterness towards the British government; Bentham’s work in drafting the 1798 Thames Police Bill; more of his writings on political economy; his plan to ‘euthanise’ the Church of England; and, most recently, more detail relating to the panopticon, including architect Willey Reveley’s sketches of the proposed prison. All of these manuscripts can be accessed via our ‘Untranscribed Manuscripts‘ list, which are divided into the boxes comprising the UCL Bentham Papers. From this page, you can also access a fuller description of the contents of each box.

Today’s progress update will be the last full update until the new year, as today UCL closes for the Christmas and new year break. As regular readers will know, Bentham regarded such holidays as ‘useless holy days’ which could be spent more productively working, though we take a slightly softer line than the big man. From 20 December 2013 until 6 January 2014, we will be on leave, which means that we will be unable to check submitted transcripts during this period. The Transcription Desk will, however, remain available at all times, though it will take longer than usual for us to answer any email queries. Normal service will resume on Monday 6 January, and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience which our absence may cause.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last twelve months, which is greatly appreciated by all of us working on the project. We wish you the best for the holiday period, and look forward to another year of transcription!

 

 

New material to transcribe: panopticon

By Tim Causer, on 18 December 2013

UC 119, f. 120: plan of the panopticon prison

UC 119, f. 120: plan of the panopticon prison.
Courtesy UCL Special Collections, image captured by UCL Creative Media Services.

It’s just under a week before Santa comes to visit, but we are delighted to be able to provide transcribers and readers with an early Christmas gift. Two further batches of digitised Bentham manuscripts have been uploaded to the Transcription Desk, both of which pertain to Bentham’s unrealised panopticon penitentiary scheme, which so dominated his life for a number of years.

Box 117 is largely comprised of collectanea, including correspondence, a drawing of the ‘sawing machine’ designed by Bentham’s younger brother, Samuel, and Bentham’s account of his frustrating attempts to purchase the Millbank estate from the Marquis of Salisbury. It also includes Bentham’s letters to George Holford MP, the anti-Benthamite chair of the 1811 Penitentiary Committee, which gave a damning indictment of the panopticon scheme in its report.

Box 119 contains a number of interesting items about the details of the panopticon, including how the prisoners would be employed, how the panopticon would be run by contract management,and how the prison itself would be centrally heated (these manuscripts contain a few rudimentary diagrams of the heating system composed by Bentham). Bentham addresses objections which he expected to be made against the panopticon, and the bulk of the box is comprised of Bentham’s draft penitentiary bill.

Box 119 also contains several drawings and sketches of the panopticon drawn by the architect Willey Reveley, who was commissioned by Bentham to produce the plans based on his designs. A few of these are currently missing, as the manuscripts are on loan to a gallery in Italy, but will be digitised upon their return. A notable sketch is the one below, drawn up by Bentham, in which he reproduces Psalm 139; Bentham was not a believer, but the panopticon intended, to all intents and purposes, to give the prison inspector all the power of a god within the penitentiary.

We hope that you enjoy exploring this material! With our thanks, as always, to our colleagues at UCL Creative Media Services and the University of London Computer Centre, for respectively capturing and uploading the images. Do contact us if you have any questions.

UC 119, f.124. Courtesy of UCL Special Collections, image captured by UCL Creative Media Services. 'Thou art about my path, and about my bed: and spiest all my ways. If I say, peradventure the darkness shall cover me: than shall my night be turned to day. Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me'. (Psalm 139)

UC 119, f.124. Courtesy of UCL Special Collections, image captured by UCL Creative Media Services.
‘Thou art about my path, and about my bed: and spiest all my ways. If I say, peradventure the darkness shall cover me: than shall my night be turned to day. Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me’.
(Psalm 139)

 

Progress update, 7 to 13 December 2013

By Tim Causer, on 16 December 2013

Welcome along to the progress update for 7 to 13 December 2013, and apologies for the delay in reporting, which was caused by proof-reading of the latest volume of Bentham’s Collected Works (Political Fallacies, in case you were wondering), and the New Directions in Bentham Studies conference held at UCL on Friday.

9,174 words of Bentham text were transcribed during this period, along with a further 3,589 words of TEI XML. 6,600 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 33 on the previous week. Of these transcripts, 6,315 (95%) are complete and locked, having passed through our quality controls.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Thank you, as always, to everyone who gave their time so generously to Transcribe Bentham during this period. It remains greatly appreciated by us all.

 

Delay to this week’s progress report

By Tim Causer, on 12 December 2013

This is just a brief entry to apologise in advance for the late arrival of this week’s progress update. Unfortunately, this week has been rather hectic, with intensive work on the next volume of Bentham’s Collected Works and tomorrow’s New Directions in Bentham Studies conference, As such we won’t be able to put out the progress update tomorrow, but do watch out for it on Monday.

We’ll also catch up with any submitted transcripts early next week. Please do accept our apologies for any inconvenience, and thank you to everyone who has transcribed something for us during the last week – it’s greatly appreciated, as always.

Progress update, 30 November to 6 December 2013

By Tim Causer, on 6 December 2013

Welcome along to the progress update for 30 November to 6 December 2013, during which time further excellent progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers. This week, 12,352 words of text have been transcribed, along with an additional 3,863 words of TEI XML.

6,567 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 43 on last week’s total. Of these transcripts, 6,290 (95%) have been locked after going through our quality-control process, up 31 on this time last week.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Amongst the interesting things transcribed this week are Bentham on experimentation with vacuums (thanks to Keith Thompson for transcribing), and Bentham’s apparent business proposal to Logan Henderson to produce ‘ethereal matches’ (thanks to Jan Copes).

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. Your work is as greatly appreciated as ever.