Transcription Conventions



Use original spelling if possible, with the exception of some common contractions and abbreviations, detailed below. Do not note misspellings with sic or any other markup.



Maintain original capitalization if possible.


Contractions & Abbreviations

Expand contracted honorifics and abbreviated names, denoting expansion with {curly brackets}.

While normal contractions (e.g. "didn't" for did not) should be transcribed as written, abbreviated names and certain honorifics should be expanded for searchability. For example, the common contraction of the honorific "Sr" should be rendered {Sir}. Likewise, the phrase "humleSrvt" can be expanded to {humble} {servant}. Consult the Colonial Clues section for more common contractions and abbreviations.

This is the area with the most room for interpretation. Use your best judgment, remembering that the aim is to enhance searchability and comprehensibility without sacrificing accuracy. If you are unsure about a contraction or abbreviation, transcribe it exactly as it appears on the page and move on.

Type Instructions Sample Image Transcription Example
Abbreviated names Expand {Samuel} Langdon
Honorifics Expand The {Honorable} {General} Hancock -
Common abbreviations and contractions Do not expand Determin'd





Do not add or remove punctuation–maintain original punctuation marks throughout.


Line Breaks

Add line breaks where they exist on the page being transcribed. Use a single return to mark a line break. Use two returns to start a new paragraph or section of a page.

FromThePage can rejoin words that are broken across lines with or without a hypen, so you should transcribe exactly what you see.


This line should be rendered:

the very difficult Situation of that Seminary of Learn-

ing for which you have testified the highest Esteem, and

If exported, this will come out as "...Seminary of Learning for which...", maintaining the searchability of the word "learning".

In rare cases, writers may hyphenate a word, but include the hyphen at the beginning of the second part of the word. In this case, move the hyphen to the end of the first part of the word, as is more common. This will preserve the functionality of rejoining the word across lines when exporting.


Tabular & Structured Content

It is difficult to capture the form of text that is organized in tables or other structures on the page. The transcription editor will strip tabs or extraneous whitespace, so you do not need to attempt to recreate the form of content.

Focus on keeping related content on the same line.

If it helps with comprehensibility, you could also use FromThePage's table markup to structure the content.


Illegible Text

Use [square brackets] and a [question mark?] to indicate text that is illegible or that you are unsure about.


An initial transcription of this might be rendered:

the conditions are as follows I E
1. That ye annuall [work?] [?] shall be for ye Support
of such [?], as shall from time to time [?]
[?] of ye [study?] in ye now lodging [?] [?]


Deleted Text

If text has been marked out or erased, but is still readable, include the text in your transcription, enclosed by <s> or <strike> tags.

Use your best judgment for line breaks and other formatting; favor readability over mimicking the original layout precisely.


This would be transcribed as:

I shall be glad to receive a letter if you can spare time to write

<s>If you can spare time to write, then I shall be glad to

receive it</s>: it will <s>be well to direct it</s> reach me if directed to the care of Mr Charles

Stimpson Boston.


Underlined Text

You can transcribe underlined text by wrapping it in <u> </u> tags.


This would be transcribed:

Much of this <u>in confidence</u>.


Blank Pages

Check the 'Mark as Blank' checkbox at the top right, above the transcription entry area, if a page contains no content. Then click Save Changes.


Library Markings

Some pages are marked with a library stamp or have the call number written on them. These non-original markings should be ignored. If you are unsure if a marking is original or added later, err on the side of caution and transcribe it as you see it.


Both the call number (UAI 50.27.73) and the blue asterisk should be omitted from the transcription.