15 Replies Latest reply on Mar 24, 2019 9:53 PM by Sharon McKinley

    completed transcription, needs a-fixin'

    suzanne piecuch Adventurer

      https://crowd.loc.gov/campaigns/letters-to-lincoln/1860-elected-first-republican-president-and-south-carolina-secedes/ma…

       

      This transcription is complete, but still has a bracketed question and also needs the reference number added.

       

      It's just an envelope.

       

      Suz.

        • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
          Lauren Algee Adventurer

          Thanks for letting us know, Suzanne! I've added this page to the Community Managers' running list of completed items that need edits.

            • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
              Melissa Himes Wayfarer

              Does this mean that anything that remains in brackets should never be accepted as completed?  I'm not sure, but, in my humble opinion, that envelope manuscript could either be Lincoln - read this or  LIncoln recd this.  Which is it?  With no other examples of this particular scribe, is it even possible to be sure what is written?  

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                • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                  suzanne piecuch Adventurer

                  Hi Melissa,

                   

                  I haven't been doing this for that long, but I've noticed that things that were once indecipherable to me have become clearer as I've become accustomed to scripts and writing conventions of the day. I find myself going back to stuff I questioned and, if it's still unreviewed, I can transcribe with confidence.

                   

                  If I see something I can't decipher, I move on, because I'm pretty sure someone with more experience can.

                   

                  But, I defer to Lauren ...This is all still a work in progress for most of us!

                   

                  I'm still not sure if missing reference numbers alone are worth flagging, but since this one had a missing number and the bracketed question, I brought it up.

                   

                  Suz.

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                    • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                      Victoria Van Hyning Adventurer

                      I think it would be worth capturing the missing reference numbers, but wouldn't encourage anyone to exhaustively seek them out. Just record a link here if you find something.

                       

                      -Victoria, Community Manager

                      • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                        Melissa Himes Wayfarer

                        Hi Suz. 

                        I've been doing this work for about 5 years and work with 6 different transcription sites.  It is true that as people gain more experience working with the records, they become better transcribers.  However, there will be times when a word can not be transcribed because the manuscript lacks contextual clues to determine what was being written.  In other cases, like the manuscript on this envelope, there might not be enough script to compare the way a writer created their letters.  As for the reference numbers, I defer to the LOC staff as well and this is why I begged the question.  I doubt that anyone is going to search for a record using a reference number and a researcher who finds the document will see the reference number of the image.  To me, it seems an incredible waste of time to worry about these types of petty errors. 






                      • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                        Victoria Van Hyning Adventurer

                        Hi Melissa,

                         

                        I think in this case it's Lincoln recd this, but it's a very tough call. I'm going on the basis of how the other a's look and making a best guess.

                         

                        If something is in brackets in a "I'm not sure what this means" sort of way, and I couldn't make any better guess myself, I'd be tempted to pass over it. In this case though, the only uncertainty I think is recd v read, but the word Lincoln and this are legible to the original transcriber. I'd suggest that if you as a reviewer come across something in brackets and are able to read parts of it, move the brackets to surround only that text which is still mysterious. And remember, square brackets are used for deleted text, illegible text, and text that's unclear to the transcriber, so there will be many completed pages with square brackets indicating deletions are genuinely illegible material.

                         

                        -Victoria, Community Manager

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                            Melissa Himes Wayfarer

                            Hi Victoria.  I think this script is unlike any of the others and am uncertain we can be sure there is another "a" written by the same scribe.  I think it is "read" because the "c" in Lincoln does not look the same as the letter in the word in question. Why did Lincoln read or receive this?  Perhaps a researcher would know the answer.   Quite honestly, except for the fact that these are in a collection of Lincoln's papers, I could make a case that this doesn't even say Lincoln.  That is a very unclear "o" and "n".  I agree with you that the brackets could have different placement.  Perhaps asterisks should have been added to the entire phrase to indicate that it is marginalia. 

                            Every site has a learning curve, and this one is no exception, especially in the way square brackets are being employed and illegible text is transcribed using multiple question marks or simply [  ].   I prefer when sites use [strikethrough] [/strikethrough] for deletions, and [illegible] for words that can't be deciphered.  It's unfortunate that there is little uniformity among various sites.  But, at least the effort to produce searchable, readable text is being attempted by so many. 

                              • Re: completed transcription, needs a-fixin'
                                Victoria Van Hyning Adventurer

                                Hi Melissa,

                                 

                                This is a letter that came into the legal office of Lincoln and his law partner, and later biographer, William Herndon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Herndon_(lawyer).  I am not a Lincoln specialist, but I'd guess that Herndon perhaps or someone else may have marked that Lincoln read or received the letter, either because it was relevant to the biography or because Lincoln was giving some insight or feedback about the case. Of course in 1860, when the letter came in, he had a few other things on his mind, but he may well have been involved with or privy to the case.

                                 

                                As for the conventions, it's a good point that consistency with other existing sites, including other Federal crowdsourcing projects such as Smithsonian Transcription Center, might be very helpful, particularly to practiced volunteers, but we felt in creating these conventions that we wanted them to involve as little typing as possible, so hence all the square brackets. What you suggest about using the marginalia brackets and stars is correct.

                                 

                                -Victoria