Friday, March 16, 2007

New format at the Hearne History site

I'm trying something new with the addition of new information from Betty Crockford on page 478 of Hearne's History.
For the first time, I've included content directly into the History.

Prior to this, I've always left Hearne's original text exactly as it was, putting all new content only in the Notes sections at the bottom of each page. The original thought was Hearne's text was priceless in its original form. Perhaps also was the question whether our facts were better than his. It seemed a little presumptive to just change his content.

After doing research over the years it's clear there are many errors and omissions in his text. More than once, now, I've been bitten by typos in the text, searching for names that aren't real because they aren't spelled correctly. Initially I struggled with even changing these spelling errors. Even though they were wrong, it felt like I was somehow altering a canonical work.

Yet, Hearne's book is not a bible, rather, it is a collection of facts and stories. His purpose was first to gather the family into one, then inspire the upcoming generations with evidence of a noble heritage. Neither of those purposes is lost by adding new information. Indeed, Hearne himself was constantly adding new information. He published a second edition of the book. He published and addendum with hundreds of new names. Had he not died, I suspect he would have produced another addendum in 10 years.

The question is not whether the corrections should be noted; that is already done via footnotes. They question is whether they should be corrected in-line, directly in the text. After consideration, I think it is a good way to go. The modern additions are clearly identified. The original pages are available for view any time. What's more, I think Hearne would have wanted it that way.

Here are some examples of changes, both the old and the new way:

Let me know what you think of doing it this way. Contact me via email, or leave a comment here.

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