Poemage Instructions

Poemage has been giving some folks trouble. See the ReadMe File for instructions. However, I can offer a more detailed process for importing poems than the ReadMe File offers:

1. Transcribe poem in Word or Pages
2. Save as –> Plain Text (.txt)
3. A “File Conversion” dialog box should open
4. The default should work, but if not, try US-ASCII (aka Western ASCII)
5. Select “insert line break” and “allow character substitution”
6. Click Okay. At this point you should have a Plain Text file that will work.
7. Before adding it to your Poemage Library, check to see that it looks okay. If you notice quotation marks or apostrophe’s did not convert properly, fix them by hand.
8. Add to your Poemage Library and then open the application
9. Select your poem from the drop down menu at the top

This seems tedious, no doubt, but part of the point is to figure out what makes text machine readable and what makes it legible to humans. Layout and formatting are very helpful to humans, but can prevent software from recognizing a file, as we discussed in class last week.

Transcription not only forces us to give a poem focused attention at its most granular level—characters, punctuation, spacing, line breaks—but also lays the ground work of converting text for work in digital environments. Without the tedium of careful transcription and trouble shooting, we’d be left with digital soup rather than machine-readable text.


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