7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 14, 2018 6:58 PM by Dennis O'Connor

    How should you transcribe a draft?


      Take for example, this speech by President Reagan: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/198500 . How would you transcribe that? Would you include both the redacted parts and the rewritten parts? How do you signify that parts are original text, and others are edits? And where would you place the comments in the margins?


      Any guidelines for draft copies?

        • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

          I have seen it done several different ways and do not know the absolute standard, but I usually use the cross-out font for lined out portions and insert the new text in plain brackets. 


          At the beginning or end, I always explain my system in curly brackets with a note that everything added in curly brackets is mine.  It is important to transcribe everything that is in the original text. 


          • Text lined out in the original
          • [Text added by original author or someone else in the original document]
          • {Anything I add, such as {sic} for a misspelled word or {word?} for a possible correction.
          • Illegible words {illegible}
          • Illegible letters { word using dashes for illegible letters, such as Sc---ar-e } 
          3 people found this helpful
          • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

            As Carol Buswell stated, we also use the strike out method to show something was originally there but was removed by the creator(s) of the document.


            To show something was inserted, I use carats ^_____^ with whatever was inserted between the carats.


            In our journal, we use hard brackets [___] to indicate a note from the either the transcriber/abstractor or editor.


            A "style guide" is included in every journal for referral by the readers.


            Hope this helps!

            5 people found this helpful
            • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

              I await answers, too. Until then, here is part of what perhaps can be a conversation.


              Although I have signed up only today, I know it is true that transcription styles vary greatly by institution. The transcription rules also change  over time and as administrators encounter problems with software.

              Some helpful general rules might be found in these documents.


              Ideally, the transcription style for the .gov sites would work alongside the GPO manual and be a part of it so a workflow could be developed that would lead to a print format for these documents.

              U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual


              See also

              Guide to Documentary Editing

              GDE chap. 4: Transcribing the Source Text


              See also

              Whitman Encoding Guidelines - Whitman Archive



              2 people found this helpful
                • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

                  Let me add further that here are the "tips" provided.

                  Yes, they are incomplete.


                  Transcription Tips

                  Transcription Tips

                  • Type what you see. Transcribe in a way that makes sense for the record.
                  • If you can't make out a word, use [illegible]. If you'd like to make a notation about something you see in the record, do so in brackets. For example: [stamp in blue ink].
                  • If there is a PDF of the record available, you can try to copy and paste the text layer of the PDF in the transcription field and correct the text that was captured through OCR.
                  • Try out transcribing audio and video records. You can also transcribe National Archives films on the Amara Platform.
                  • For foreign language documents, we encourage you to transcribe the original language. If you would like to provide a translation, you can add this after the transcription.
                  • For those records that don't have text to transcribe, take a moment to tag what you see in the records.
                  • Check out the Citizen Contribution Policy for more information.
                  2 people found this helpful
                • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

                  The strikethrough is something I would love to use. However, in the National Archives Catalog, the transcription is simply a blank text box with no formatting options. Perhaps that's a feature to be added for a later iteration?


                  In the meantime, I'll take your suggestions, Carol Buswell and Hope Blackford!

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • Re: How should you transcribe a draft?

                    Transcription on the Citizen Archivist Dashboard is pretty straight forward and without formatting.  For the catalog, the text is what is most important (including noting strike throughs) and formatting isn't important.  While the option to strike through would be really helpful, I suggest adding all comments, strike throughs, etc in brackets. 


                    Making your transcription as simple and clear as possible is what helps researchers and searches in the National Archives Catalog.


                    I create and maintain missions in NARA's Citizen Archivist Dashboard, feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


                    Suzanne Isaacs

                    Digital Public Access Branch

                    National Archives

                    2 people found this helpful