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Transcription Guidelines

General rules:

Type all the pages of text into one Word document. See below for information on separating the pages within the document.

Save the scans for a multiple page document as filename_s1, filename_s2 -- using the "s" and a number to indicate the order of the scans. This will be much less confusing in the long run than trying to use page numbers.

Be sure to transcribe ALL writing, except writing clearly added by the library.

Guidelines for Transcribing Documents to share on Maine Memory Network

1. Transcribe all documents as they are, mistakes and all. However, when encountering the early American long "s" that might look like an "f," transcribe it as an "s" since that's what it was and was known as.

2. Keep punctuation as is.

3. If the writer has put in extra text between the lines of the letter or document, leave an extra line, then use a ^ (capital "6") and insert the words in the line you have left blank. The transcription should look as much like the original document as possible.

4. Footnote any added description, definitions or notes.

5. Square bracket all changes (for example: letter[s]) or questions [?] or use them to indicate missing text if it can not be discerned in the context of the document, ex. [missing words] [missing page]

6. Use brackets sparingly. Use only when necessary to clarify a thought or denote a question on the part of the editor. For example:

"Sincerely, Charles Chnbrs [?]".

7. Match the lines in the original document to the lines of the electronic document if possible. The first line in the original should correspond with the first line in the electronic document.

8. Use Times New Roman font.

9. Each page of a multipage manuscript is separated with a pagebreak and the words [scan 2 begins], or [scan 3 begins], and [end scan 1] at the bottom of the page, etc.

10. At the top of each document, type the MHS local code-- found on the work assignment sheet. (This is the number you used to retrieve the item from the library collection)

11. If you are having trouble figuring out what the document says, check the reference books (listed below). Reading Early American Handwriting is quite useful. Ask someone else to look at the document and help you figure out what it might say. Look through the document for similar words or letter strokes. Look up possible words in the dictionary or in dictionaries of early American usage. You can find these at the reference desk upstairs.

Useful references include:

Abbreviation book
Early American words
Old Dictionary
Do a computer search to see if the word you are guessing comes up

 

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