Site Map Links Consulting Contact

Macro-Typography of Deeds: 9

Tuning the layout

The online view of the document can be further compacted using a macro-typographical device, the run-in heading. This eliminates some unneeded white space from the interior of the document, and uses colour instead to break up the greyness of the text. Here is the CSS code that goes with the H element: {display: inline; background-color: lightblue; margin-right: 1em;}

The first property-value pair, display:inline, not only ensures that the text following will appear on the same line as the sub-heading itself, but also eliminates top and bottom space around the heading in the major browsers. The background colour creates a highlighter effect around the text. The margin-right property is there to ensure that there is some empty space to the right of the heading before the text begins.

To keep this structure flexible, I dispense entirely with P elements. Instead I tag the entire unit— the heading and the text— as a single DIV. The heading is a sub-unit within the DIV. The text might also be book-ended between its own ad-hoc set of DIV tags to mark it off as an inner unit, but often this is not necessary. Leaving such sub-units unmarked is often called leaving them "anonymous".

Note that the preamble at the start of wills does not have its own sub-heading in the model texts, as the start of the text is clear to the eye and no added macro-typographical device is necessary here. Nor has any sub-heading been put over the disposition section, since the bulleted list makes this area a typographically distinct one.

A trick with the margin property can be used to add space to the left and right of the grant date in the heading: .grantdate {margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;}

This is to be preferred to methods that add superfluous content, such as empty spaces, to the source text. See the Alice Alefounder will after incorporation of these changes.

Note another place in a deed where it is also appropriate to use the UL element: when displaying the names of the two or more witnesses to the document. These persons are not usually members of the family being reconstructed, but their identities may well be of interest to other researchers, and their names should be shown in an easily readable fashion.

To demonstrate all the techniques, here is a long document combining wills from different periods and languages in a standardized mark-up that finds expression through the macro-typography. As a demonstration of the liberty this gives to change the page's appearance, the same document can also be seen re-styled in a different format.

Annexed to this article are two, more detailed discussions of preliminary issues that transcribers may face: fundamental design and how to present changes to the text made by the editor.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Examples: • HeadingsTwo Sub-HeadingsThree Sub-HeadingsThe Core as ListSingle-Item ListExpanding TextRun-In HeadingsCompilationVariation