Correcting Errors

I have been transcribing Mary Church Terrell. I have misread one item numerous times and today finally got a document that was more clearly written. She was a member of a Matron's Whist Club. The problem is that I had read it as Watrous, mistaking her M for a W and n for a u. I just wanted to alert the board in case someone is reviewing my documents in her diaries from 1905,1908 and 1909.

  • Good detective work Henry! You've had an experience that I think a lot of documentary editors have at one time or another. You've been transcribing something one way for a while, and then finally realize it's not what you thought. A Matron's Whist Club--pretty cool. Whist is a brainy undertaking, from what I understand. You've done the right thing in raising this point here. Can you by any chance paste a link or two to examples of these pages? Maybe you can find an editor buddy here on History Hub, who can look out for these things. To grab a specific page link, go to your Account Profile, and click on a relevant page, then share the link over here on this thread.

    All best,


  • Henry, I've had that experience, too.  In an effort to prevent that happening in my own work, I had to change my approach.  At first, I would transcribe a page, and then as soon as I was done, submit it for review.  Then I had the experience of realizing what a word was that I'd at first misunderstood or left as question.  Now if I have a page with a mystery word, then I don't send it for review until I have transcribed all pages of the document.  Sometimes, after going back and rereading it as a whole, I found that the word would suddenly make sense.  It's the funny way the mind works, or at least the way mine does.

    I know your example works across many documents, and it makes me wonder if I should hold back more documents until all hope of figuring out the mystery word is gone.  But then I realize that sometimes I just have to let it go and hope the reviewer can figure it out.

    I hope that in the future, the developers create a way for someone to open up a document again when there has been a mistake that is discovered after the document has been submitted for review or after it's been completed.

  • Hi Victoria. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to find those pages. I have over 1400 actions on her pages so it would take too much time to go through them all. What would help is if we could edit our own transcriptions after submitting for review. I'm sure others have had the same experience where you submit a page and later find a page where a word is more clearly written. I hope all is well for you and your colleagues with the shutdown.

  • Hello, yes, this is a request we've seen a few times already and have logged as a bug on GitHub, where we keep track of the code for the project.

    I like your idea of transcribing a whole document before submitting it for review. That seems very sensible. So long as you save as you go, and certainly before you open a new page, your work won't be lost. But trusting the reviewer is also a good instinct! Hopefully, between these strategies and improvements to review in the coming months, the experience will be more fluid and enjoyable.


  • The problem for me,Julianne, was that I thought I knew what the word was and later realized I was wrong. I had suggested to Victoria that we have a way to re-edit our pages after submitting for review. It would require their techs to devise a process where the system recognizes us as the transcriber, allows us to edit but does not allow us to approve, in my humble opinion. Your suggestion is good. Now when I am not sure about a word, I save the document but don't submit and check subsequent pages to see if it is there. If so, I correct my saved document and then move on. As Victoria said we may have to rely on the reviewer but to be honest, I have been doing this for over 2 months and not bragging but I almost feel like an expert on MCT's handwriting so I would prefer to review my own earlier transcriptions. Finally, I almost wish we could have a room at LOC and sit with others so we can check each other's work and ask questions when we get stuck. Nice talking with you.

  • Thanks for your kind messages Henry, and for your thoughtful replies. I love the idea of an in person get together. We're actually trying to devise a program of in-person transcribathons to do exactly this. We'd love to support the local DC community, but also to provide documentation for volunteers all around the world who want to host their own transcribathon. Watch this space for sure! When we've revamped the documentation and established some dates in the calendar, we'll be letting you all know!

  • I thought it would also be helpful to link to this other discussion where editing one's on transcriptions post submission was raised. Also, Henry, we're thinking of a solution very like what you described. -Victoria

  • Good to know. On other thing. I tried copying and pasting a link to show someone a page they may have been interested in but it wasn't possible to do. It was someone who was interested in MCT's documents in French. It would be nice to be able to send each other links perhaps to ask for help with words in a document but if we cannot copy and paste, it is not possible. Thanks for your help, Victoria. Are you not effected by the shutdown?

  • Oh! I've been wanting to engage in this question!

    Julianne, when I started, I began doing what you're doing, which is to have a few things open and in progress, but at some point it seemed that I was holding things up, or it seemed as if someone else had jumped on, and I got confused and stopped doing that.

    Is it possible for two people to pick up a "work in progress" and move it along? Is the file locked if someone is actively in it?

    I intend to go with my gut and try it again. As a neophyte, who knows what I did back then! I might not have been logged in, or I might have inadvertently closed it, sent it to review, who knows!

    I very much like Henry's suggestion of being recognized as the transcriber. Goodness knows I blush at my first few transcriptions where I... oh, I won't even admit to what I did..!!

    I was also mulling the idea of having groups that review each other's work. This would be especially helpful in moving something along when the transcript is clean except for a word or two. To be able to pass it on to an individual just for that final check would speed up some easy "completes".


  • Hi Suzanne,

    A page is only locked when someone has the tab open and has made a save within the last 10 minutes. If you enter text, click save, and then navigate away from the page it will become free within 10 minutes.

    As for attribution Henry Rosenberg, we think it's important for volunteers to be able to see what they have transcribed in their own profile, but that many people prefer privacy and the chance to learn as they go. Attribution might make that awkward or lead to unhelpful back and forth between volunteers who develop a distrust of one another's work--this happens in a lot of online spaces unfortunately. That said, we might be able to implement the option for people to display their identification as transcribers on their work, if there was high demand down the line. We might be able to discover if there were demand via a survey. This would take a lot of careful thought and testing. We'll be sure to involve you and other volunteers if and when the time comes.

    The community managers have been chatting about your wonderful threads here on HH and want to encourage your ideas of asking one another to review your transcriptions and of looking out for things that are of particular interest to one another. Perhaps a buddy system or interest group is in order? We leave it to you to design that in whatever way best meets your needs. We're happy to help if there's anything we can do.

    Happy transcribing and reviewing!