We've been so impressed by the rate at which volunteers have tackled the new Early Copyright Title pages campaign. A big thanks to all of you who have already lent a hand to transcribing and reviewing these pages! These documents are an important and invaluable resource chronicling American creativity in the 18th and 19th centuries. You've probably noticed that there are some common symbols, abbreviations, and conventions in both the printed and handwritten text contained in this campaign. We wanted to provide some additional guidance on how to transcribe some of these elements.
If you have a question about this campaign that you don't see reflected in this list, please reply to this post and we'll respond with an answer!
Q1: Why are there handwritten notes on the title pages? And how should I transcribe them?
Often, the handwritten notes on the front or back (verso) of title pages were made by the court clerks noting the deposit information for that title. They often contain a shortened version of the title, a date of deposit, and the name of the author or proprietor (publisher) that deposited the page. In some cases the page/record number in the court’s copyright record book is also given.
You should transcribe these notes without any special markup even though they were added to the title pages after printing. In many cases, these notes appear as the only text on the back of a page and therefore don't qualify as marginalia. For consistency's sake, we ask that avoid adding marginalia markup to handwritten notes on the front of printed title pages as well. Transcribe the text as you see it!
Q2: What is "&c" or "+c" that I see on so many pages?
"&c" or "+c" is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase "et cetera." From Latin, the phrase translates to "and the rest" but is used in English to mean "other similar things" or "and so forth." In the 21st century, we usually abbreviate this phrase as "etc." You should transcribe this as it appears on the page, preserving the abbreviated form.
Q3: Should I transcribe the printed "LC" stamp that I see on the back of many of these title pages?
No, you don't need to transcribe the printed "LC" stamp that you see on the title pages. If you come across a page where the only text that appears is the stamp, feel free to mark that page as "nothing to transcribe." The stamp's abbreviation stands for "Library of Congress" and was added to the title pages much later than their original printing dates, when the pages came into the Library's collections.
Q4: I'm seeing some common abbreviations on the pages. Can you explain what these are and how to transcribe them?
Some of the common abbreviations you'll see on the title pages are below. Transcribe them as you see them, preserving the abbreviations.
Prop or Prop'r = Proprietor, refers to the publisher that submitted the title page for copyright.
Dep't = Deposited, usually preceeds the date when the author or proprietor submitted the page to their local courts to register copyright.
Have you noticed an abbreviation or symbol in the Early Copyright campaign that doesn't make sense to you? Post it here and we can puzzle it out together!
Abby (By the People Community Manager) & Elizabeth (Rare Book and Special Collections Division)