2 Replies Latest reply on May 14, 2019 1:39 PM by National Archives Catalog

    transcribing forms


      When a doc is a generic form and the person filling it out only checks and fills out the appropriate answer how should we transcribe?


      Do we transcribe the whole doc and then bracket around "blank"  if the section was left blank? 




      I have executed the within Judgement and Commitment as follows:

      Defendant delivered on [blank] to [blank]

      Defendant noted appeal to district court on [handwritten "10-22-67"]

      Defendant released on [blank]


      Thank you in advance!

        • Re: transcribing forms
          Melissa Himes Adventurer

          Great question!  I have seen documents done several ways depending on the transcriber.  It seems that most transcribers utilize the [blank] or [   ] for missing information.  I personally like the use of brackets to show the information that has been filled in on a form, although I have seen others use carets around the information. 
          Example:  Defendant noted appeal to district court on [10-22-67] 
                            Defendant noted appeal to district court on ^10-22-67^
          I have often wondered which is correct or whether they are both correct.

          I also wonder when we need to use [handwritten] or [manuscript].  When a person finds the image, they will see that what is handwritten.  On the Transcription Tips for Benedict Arnold's Oath of Allegiance, there is a single instance when a formatting bracket is used, [handwritten] Swear [end handwritten], but on the other 3 instances of manuscript in the document there are no formatting brackets.    

          Looking forward to seeing the moderator's answer to the questions! 

          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: transcribing forms
            National Archives Catalog Scout

            At the National Archives, transcription helps increase searchability, so our focus is on the text rather than the formatting.  Typically information placed in brackets [ ] indicates that you are giving information not found in the record itself such as [illegible].  So we recommend not placing the information from these fields in brackets.


            We suggest the following:

            1.  If you wish, at the top of the transcription, add a line such as this:

            [This is a typed form with handwritten responses]

            2.  Transcribe everything you see and do not worry about indicating if parts are filled in fields, handwritten, etc.

            3.  If a field is blank, indicate this with [blank]


            We're happy to answer any other questions you may have.  Thank you for your work as Citizen Archivists!



            Community Manager, National Archives Catalog

            5 people found this helpful