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Transcribing

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 Tips

  • Scan the whole page to understand its purpose and context.
  • Familiarize yourself with the handwriting. For example, how does the author write the letter “S”?
  • Go word by word instead of trying to take in the whole sentence at once.
  • Save your work frequently.
  • Use page notes to make observations or leave helpful hints for fellow transcribers.
  • Common Words and Abbreviations

    New York City Place Names

    SI = Staten Island

    BX = The Bronx

    BK = Brooklyn

    NYC = New York City

    Helpful Documentation

    Advanced Markup

    Table Encoding

    Encoding mathematical and scientific formula with LaTex

    iPad Users

  • To prevent glitches, orient the document and image so that the document is on the right, and the image is to the left. You can change the arrangement of the document and image using the “Layout” button.
  • FAQs

  • Q: What if my image doesn’t load?
  • A: The image may not load once you first pull up the page. However, if you click to transcribe the page, the image should load then. You may need to zoom in to see the picture clearly.
  • Q: Where can I find a visual example?
  • A: Each collection has their own set of examples in a tab labeled as such. You can refer to those to see an example of how pages were transcribed.
  • 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 “Dr. Owen” in the text:

    Dr. Owen and his wife came by for fried chicken today.

    Place [[ and ]] around Dr Owen like this:

    [[Dr. Owen]] and his wife came by for fried chicken today.

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

    [[Dr. Owen]] and [[Dr. Owen's wife|his wife]] came by for fried chicken today.

    This will create a subject for “Dr. Owen's wife” and link the text “his wife” to that subject.

    Renaming Subjects

    In the example above, we don't know Dr. Owen's wife's name, but created a subject for her anyway. If we later discover that her name is “Juanita”, all we have to do is edit the subject title:

    1. Click on “his wife” on the page, or navigate to “Dr. Owen's wife” on the home page for the project.
    2. Click the Edit tab.
    3. Change “Dr. Owen's wife” to “Juanita Owen”.

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

    [[Dr. Owen]] and [[Juanita Owen|his wife]] came by for fried chicken today.

    Combining Subjects

    Occasionally you may find that two subjects actually refer to the same person. 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:

    [[Dr. Owen]] and [[Juanita Owen|his wife]] came by for [[fried chicken]] today.

    while a different page contains

    Jim bought a [[chicken]] today.

    you can combine “chicken” with “fried chicken” by going to the “chicken” article and reviewing the combination suggestions at the bottom of the screen. Combining “fried chicken” into “chicken” will update all links to point to “chicken” instead, copy any article text from the “fried chicken” article onto the end of the “chicken” article, then delete the “fried chicken” 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 our example, the system already knows that “Dr. Owen” links to “Dr. Owen” and “his wife” links to “Juanita Owen”. If a new page reads:

    We told Dr. Owen about Sam Jones and his wife.

    pressing Autolink will suggest these links:

    We told [[Dr. Owen]] about Sam Jones and [[Juanita Owen|his wife]].

    In this case, the link around “Dr. Owen” is correct, but we must edit the suggested link that incorrectly links Sam Jones's wife to “Juanita Owen”. 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.