Frequently Asked Questions

What does the "Needs Review" status mean?

  • Once a transcribed page marked 'Transcription Complete', the status changes to "Needs Review," even if the transcription is not finished.  A volunteer reviewer or staff member will be able to review the transcription and make necessary changes or finalize it.

What if I need to take a break from transcribing and come back later?

  • Make sure to click the save button before exiting your browser. 

If the document is in a language other than English, do I translate the document?

  • The goal of this project is to produce basic transcriptions of our materials. Please transcribe all materials in their original languages.

What do I do for ledgers or tabular data?

  • If the tabular data is straightforward and consistent (e.g. two different columns with narrative text), you can transcribe the top left column first, insert a line space, and then transcribe the top right column. Repeat down the page as necessary.
  • If the tabular data includes numbers or has multiple columns (such as a ledger), you can use the editor to create a table. Use the table to transcribe what you see.

What if there is text written in different directions or cross hatching?

  • Transcribe the body of the text first, insert a line space, and transcribe the next direction of text in its own paragraph. Repeat as necessary.

What if the item includes printed or typed text in conjunction with handwritten text?

  • If the item includes multiple pages of typed or printed text (such as a diary with information pages in the front or back), do not transcribe those pages. Instead, tag the page as [not transcribed] and move on.
  • If there is a combination of printed text as well as handwritten notes (such as a legal form), transcribe both the printed text and the handwritten text. Use your best judgment.

Should I transcribe special characters, such as letters with accents?

  • Yes, include special characters such as accents. The editor in the box allows for insertion of special characters by clicking the omega icon. For a list of numerical shortcuts for accented characters, check out the Penn State guides for Windows and Mac.

How should I record special characters or symbols that I cannot transcribe?

  • If there are mathematical or scientific equations or symbols that you cannot transcribe, use [symbol] instead. 

Where can I get more information and help transcribing?