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Once you sign up for an account, a new Transcribe tab will appear above each page.

You can create or edit transcriptions by modifying the text entry field and saving. Each modification is stored as a separate version of the page, so that it should be easy to revert to older versions if necessary.

Registered users can also add notes to pages to comment on difficult words, suggest readings, or discuss the texts.

Transcription Conventions

Detailed Guidelines for Transcribing Scientific Notebooks
  • Spelling: Use original spelling if possible.
  • Capitalization: Use original capitalization.
  • Punctuation: Use original punctuation.
  • Illustrations: Indicate illustrations in single square brackets: [color illustration]
    • Use the term illustration for published images. Use pencil sketches for items that are hand-drawn.
    • Use the following vocabulary to indicate illustrations relative to where they are on the page:
      • [color illustration] or [color illustrations]
      • [black and white illustration] or [black and white illustrations]
      • [pencil sketch] or [pencil sketches]
      • [color pencil sketch] or [color pencil sketches]
  • Line Breaks: Hit return once after each line ends. Two returns indicate a new paragraph, which is usually indentation following the preceding sentence in the original. The times at the end of each entry should get their own paragraph, since the software does not support indentation in the transcriptions.
  • Illegible text: Indicate illegible readings in single square brackets: [Dr?]
    • If you aren’t sure of a word but want to take a guess, type your guess with square brackets and a question mark: [Galeola?].
    • If you have an idea about what the word might be but can’t make it out, indicate the type of word you think it is in brackets: [town?] or [name?].
    • If you can't make out a word at all, type [illegible]. If you spot [illegible] in an already started transcription, feel free to correct it if you know what the word is.
    • Mark pages with illegible text as Needs Review
  • A single new line indicates a line-break in the original document, and will not appear as a break in the text in some views or exports. Two new lines indicate a paragraph, and will appear as a paragraph break in all views.
  • Still have questions? Contact us.
  • Tips and Tricks

    • Zoom in on an image by clicking Fullscreen at the top left of the document workspace, or clicking the + symbol at the bottom of the image. Once you’ve zoomed in, you can click, hold your mouse, and drag the image to see details in the letter.
    • Toggle between views (side-by-side or over-and-under) with the Image at the left pull down menu on the upper left of the document workspace.
    • Move between pages of a letter by clicking the left or right arrows at the top right of the document workspace. If you encounter a blank page, which you occasionally may, check Mark as blank.
    • If your translation needs further review, you can check Needs Review.
    • The progress bar next to each letter indicates its status. Depending on the number of pages, the bar may indicate a combination.
      • White means a page has not been transcribed.
      • Light green means a page has been transcribed, but not reviewed.
      • Dark Green means a page has been transcribed and reviewed, and is ready to be added to our collection.

    Linking Subjects

    To create a link within a transcription, surround the text with double square braces.

    Example: Say that we want to create a subject link for “Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.” in the text:

    Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.

    Place [[ and ]] around Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl. like this:

    [[Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.]]

    When you save the page, a new subject will be created for “Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.”, and the page will be added to its index. You can add an article about Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.—perhaps biographical notes or references—to the subject by clicking on “Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.” and clicking the Edit tab.

    To create a subject link with a different name from that used within the text, use double braces with a pipe as follows: [[official name of subject|name used in the text]].

    For example:

    [[Vanilla imperialis Kraenzlin|Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.]]

    This will create a subject for “Vanilla imperialis Kraenzlin” and link the text “Vanilla imperialis Kraenzl.” to that subject.

    Renaming Subjects

    If a name, "Presc. densiflora", is abbreviated in the text but we don't know the full name, create a subject for it anyway. If we later discover the full name is “Prescottia densiflora”, all we have to do is edit the subject title:

    1. Click on “Presc. densiflora” on the page, or navigate to “Presc. densiflora” on the home page for the project.
    2. Click the Edit tab.
    3. Change “Presc. densiflora” to “Prescottia densiflora”.

    This will change the links on the pages that mention that subject, so our page is automatically updated:

    [[Prescottia densiflora|Presc. densiflora]]

    Combining Subjects

    Occasionally you may find that two subjects actually refer to the same thing. When this happens, rather than painstakingly updating each link, you can use the Combine button at the bottom of the subject page.

    For example, if one page reads:

    [[Vanilla planifolia Andr.]]

    while a different page contains

    [[Vanilla planifolia Andrews]]

    you can combine “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” with “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” by going to the “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” article and reviewing the combination suggestions at the bottom of the screen. Combining “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” into “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” will update all links to point to “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” instead, copy any article text from the “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” article onto the end of the “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” article, then delete the “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” subject.

    Auto-linking Subjects

    Whenever text is linked to a subject, that fact can be used by the system to suggest links in new pages. At the bottom of the transcription screen, there is an Autolink button. This will refresh the transcription text with suggested links, which should then be reviewed and may be saved.

    Using the previous example, the system already knows that “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” links to “Vanilla planifolia Andr.” If a new page reads:

    Vanilla planifolia Andrews.
    Prescottia orchioides

    pressing Autolink will suggest these links:

    [[Vanilla planifolia Andr.|Vanilla planifoli Andrews]].
    [[Prescottia]] orchiodes

    In this case, the link around “Vanilla planifolia Andrews” is correct, but we must edit the suggested link that incorrectly links only the genus Prescottia. The transcription should read: [[Prescottia orchiodes]]. The autolink feature can save a great deal of labor and prevent collaborators from forgetting to link a subject they previously thought was important, but its suggestions still need to be reviewed before the transcription is saved.