I’ve spent pretty much all week copying and pasting. I’ve been collating the words to hundreds of broadside ballads into a single document, so that I can find them when I need them. It’s the first step towards beginning my new research projects – whichever one I go for first, I needed to expand my ballad collection beyond the 1530-70 remit of my PhD. It’s been a tedious week, in some ways, but at least I know now that I’m ready to start on some research proper.

I’ve not put the many, many ballads from manuscripts into the same file, partly because it would become unmanageably enormous and partly because they are a bit more difficult to deal with – it’s more rare for them to have titles, which means filing them by their first line… Which in turn makes things a bit more complicated.

After a week of copying and pasting, by mid-morning on Friday I had all the words, but I had to check that I hadn’t ended up with lots of random blank pages, and I also wanted to make sure that it was all in the same font, not lots of different ones. Finally, I finished up with a document that was 3245 pages long.

My next step was to copy this document and remove any of the non-topical ballads, because most of the work I want to do over the next few months is, one way or another, based on topical ballads. Anything that stayed in the topical ballad file was also copied into one or more of a variety of smaller files on different subjects – monarchy, crime, rebellion, military news etc. Next week, I’m ready to get going looking for pamphlets on the same topics – something I’ve been waiting to do for more than a year!