Everyday Blake

Everyday Blake is part of the Blake 2.0 | Digital Reading Project at readers.blake2.org and is a series of resources that focus on the use of William Blake’s art and poetry in a variety of situations. Comprising databases of citations as well as research findings on how Blake is employed online, Everyday Blake is an exciting new project that intends to explore how his work continues to find a wider audience in the twenty-first century.

The aims of the Everyday Blake initiative are to explore all possible aspects of the appearance of Blake’s work in order to examine how those works are employed in often surprising contexts, and to promote and develop the understanding of Blake’s reception beyond the creative industries and academic communities. As Blake is often a mass-media phenomenon, so Everyday Blake will explore his appearance in the mass media as well as undertake reader-research projects to provide information on the use of Blake in the twenty-first century.

The first published elements of Everyday Blake include responses on a short online survey to collect data on how and where Blake is cited online. You can see the results of that survey at readers.blake2.org/survey-results/quotation-survey-results while the survey itself is still ongoing at readers.blake2.org/current-survey. This survey has already provided valuable information on how and why people have a particular interest in using Blake as part of their everyday lives, and is to be included into a forthcoming digital ethnographic investigation into the extreme popularity of Blake on Twitter and social networking media. Some of the data collected as part of that research will be made available in the first quarter of 2011 on the Digital Reading Project.

The second component of Everyday Blake to be made available is the CitationsBase, a collection of nearly 2,000 Blake citations that appeared online over 2010 and which will be added to on a regular basis and is published as the Blake Citations Index at readers.blake2.org/quotations/citations-index. The value of this information is that it provides an insight into how Blake is commonly used by newspapers, broadcasters, magazines, media and on forums, with information also being analysed according to the category of article in which it appears and its location. The information is searchable and is intended to offer a resource to researchers in particular who wish to have some understanding of how Blake is deployed on a daily basis from New York to Delhi, on topics as diverse as politics and sport. CitationsBase is powered by BlakeBASE, a Blake 2.0 database that will build into as comprehensive as possible a resource of information about William Blake.

Forthcoming projects for 2011 include what should be the largest ever investigation into reading and viewing habits to be launched by Easter 2011, as well as additions to BlakeBASE to provide searchable resources for those seeking out Blake’s works.

Image from “William Blake Month” on The Thought Experiment.