09 January 2017

Guidelines to Transcribing

I am in the middle of transcribing papers related to a court case involving one of my ancestors. Below is a set of guidelines I'm working to internalize as I work. Many of them revolve around maintaining the context and appearance of the original document.


  1. Copy what you see exactly as it appears. Do not edit the text. If a comment is needed, place them in square brackets.
  2. Use square brackets to show alterations or edits to the text.
  3. Retain the original punctuation and capitalization.
  4. Retain the original line breaks.
  5. Always include a full source citation on each page of the transcription.
  6. Take a break, especially when puzzling over a particularly strange or illegible portion of the text.


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