While applying the visual XML tags, an editor will also begin to markup the document for annotation. If the document contains a previously identified person/place etc., then that identification, or “ID,” is linked to the corresponding text in the document. If there is no existing identification, then the editor creates a blank “ID” and links it to the appropriate word in the document, thereby signaling that the annotation needs to be researched and written. Ideally, the DMDE strives to identify all people, places, titles, and organizations mentioned in a document, bearing in mind the audience and time constraints. Editors generally limit their time researching an annotation to two hours.
After the annotation is researched, drafted, tagged, and linked to the appropriate document(s), fact checking and approval(s) are conducted. Next, the newly written and revised (since the last publication) annotations are reviewed by the copyeditor. The edits are made in the database and the final submission of documents and annotations is output for transmittal to Rotunda, with one further step in the digital publication's workflow remaining. Indeed, after receipt of the edition, Rotunda edits the submitted digital "manuscript," smoothing the work of many hands into one consistent publication. Rotunda’s edits—which are entered into the separate XML files, not in the DMDE's production database—must then be synchronized with what is online, the final publication.
Editorial Essays & Introductions
In addition to the annotations, the DMDE provides "Editorial Notes," essays that range in length from roughly 500 to 4,500 words. These notes provide DMDE readers with context and scholarly discussion of topics that require more explanation than can be offered in an annotation. Over the years, essays have been written on a variety of topics, from the popularity of autograph collecting—and Dolley’s involvement with the hobby—to more detailed essays on her land sales and connections to her slaves. Editorial essays are linked to relevant documents (and vice-versa) and are also accessible through the table of contents. The scope of the Editorial Notes is at the sole discretion of the editor-in-chief, Shulman. Similarly, the DMDE has published an extensive introduction, which is updated with each new volume and includes sections on editorial methodology, technical explanations, project history, and acknowledgments. The goal of the introduction is to present and explain the edition to the general public.