Transcription: Basic Rules

Text order

Transcribe text in the order it appears on the page. If you're unsure, transcribe the text how it would make sense to read aloud.

Preserve original spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Transcribe original text spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Type what you see.  Do not paraphrase.

Dashes and other punctuation can be a little unusual before the mid-20th century. Make your best guess on whether something is best represented by an en dash, em dash, equals sign, period, etc.

If a misspelling will impact search of the document, you can tag the page with the correct spelling. Example: "Abe Linkin" - Transcribe as spelled and tag with "Abraham Lincoln"

Line breaks

Preserve line breaks. Line breaks make it easier for someone to review your transcription. Sometimes text in the transcription box spills over two lines in the transcription box. If you don't hit enter, no line break is recorded.

When words are broken over two lines on the same page, type the word on the first line. Example: Write library rather than li-brary.

Page breaks

If a word breaks across two pages, transcribe it on the first page. 

Illegible or unclear text

If you can't decipher a word or phrase, that’s ok! Another volunteer may be able to. If you are unable to read a lot of a page, save and looking for another.

You may not be able to read some text due to damage, cross-outs, blurred ink, or bad handwriting! In place of illegible words or letters, transcribe a pair of square brackets around a question mark [?]. If you can read any part of a word, transcribe what letters you can and use question marks for the rest. Example: [?] score and s[????] years ago 

Blank pages - Nothing to transcribe

Do not transcribe any text for blank pages. Check the Nothing to Transcribe box below it and hit "Save."