Why Transcribe?When documents are transcribed, they can be easily searched for names of people and places. Transcriptions make these texts more accessible to scholars and educators.
Semi-Diplomatic TranscriptionFor Transcribing Faith, you will be doing a “semi-diplomatic transcription.” This means replicating the original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization of the manuscript. Resist the temptation to modernize spellings of words or to add modern punctuation!
You will also identify or describe any graphics (marks or drawings) in the document and transcribe marginalia (labels, text, or headings appearing in the margins of the page that are not part of the main body of the document).
Points to Remember
- Transcription of texts from the early modern period (late 15th to early 18th centuries) is NOT an exact science, but the more you do over time, the better you’ll be! Start by scanning a page for letters or words you feel you can transcribe, and remember, you can do as little as one word at a time!
- Spelling was not fixed in the early modern period, so forget what modern letters look like, and forget modern spelling and punctuation. Minuscules (lower case letters) and majuscules (upper case letters) are often used inconsistently.
- Every individual scribe has an individual, inconsistent hand and approach to spelling and punctuation. Just transcribe exactly what you see.
- These documents were composed on rough paper or vellum with quill pens. In trying to figure out a letter or word, it helps to think of how the letters are formed. Lighter, thinner strokes are usually upstrokes and thicker strokes are usually downstrokes.
For specific questions when working with documents on Transcribing Faith, please contact Digital Initiatives and Services at the Newberry Library: firstname.lastname@example.org