Transcription Guidelines

  • Transcribe the text as it is, including punctuation, misspellings, and abbreviations.
  • Do not transcribe words that have been crossed out.
  • You may correct a misspelled word by typing the correctly spelled word in brackets after the misspelling: werk [work].
  • If you aren’t sure of a word but want to take a guess, type your guess with square brackets and a question mark: [Prentiss?].
  • 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.
  • Don’t worry about formatting (e.g. underline, italic, bold, spacing, alignment, etc.)
  • Do not transcribe hyphens or spaces in words that occur at line breaks. Our goal is to provide text for searching.
  • To view abbreviations that appear commonly in nineteenth-century correspondence, visit this page.
  • Contact us with specific questions or issues.

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.