3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2021 1:53 PM by John Throssell

    How to transcribe the silcrow (legal double S)?

    Diane Estes Scout

      How should we be transcribing the legal symbol known as the “double  S”  ( § )?  Since this is represented in spoken English as “section” I have been transcribing it as “S”.  However I have also seen people transcribe it as “SS.”

       

      And - following on from that - a much more confusing question to me:  How to transcribe §§ ?  This is represented in spoken English as “sections” and I have been transcribing it as “SS,” but have seen people transcribe as “SSSS.”  The latter, while possibly more accurate to the double-double S in intent, seems graphically very confusing to me.

       

      Do we have LOC standards on this?

        • Re: How to transcribe the silcrow (legal double S)?
          Lauren Algee Tracker

          This is a great question, Diane -- and one we haven't been asked before!  We're going to confer with our colleagues in the Law Library of Congress to get their recommendation. Stay tuned!

          • Re: How to transcribe the silcrow (legal double S)?
            Lauren Algee Tracker

            Thanks again for raising this question, Diane.

             

            Our esteemed Law Library colleagues have weighed in and they recommend transcribing the silcrow and not substituting an 'S':

             

            § is what is used in legal writing to cite a specific section of a legal code, such as the U.S. Code, or even the Constitution (e.g., Art. II, §2 = ‘Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution’). In a legal document or in any form of legal writing that discusses a statute or regulation, it would be pretty unusual to see “S” used instead of §.

             

            So while it's unlikely that archival documents would be searched using this character with the same frequency as legal statues, etc. we do think it's good to preserve this symbol when you find it. This is in line with our existing instructions on special characters/symbols, which direct volunteers to, "Transcribe special characters within words when they are utilized in the original document."

             

            I've updated these symbol instructions to specifically cite this symbol and others we see frequently.

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