Main Page/Editorial Declaration
The transcription of historical texts and especially manuscript texts from earlier centuries is a difficult task. Every single manuscript contains numerous traps for the transcriber (e.g. inconsistent use of abbreviations, quite arbitrary use of upper and lower case, unclear or illegible words etc). So in order to prepare a scientifically valuable and transparent transcription it is not only useful but necessary to follow some editorial conventions and to make these "rules" explicit in the Editorial Declaration.
The transcriber has to be consistent in following the conventions he has chosen (at the beginning or early stages of his work) within a transcription or a digital edition of several documents.
For this purpose the Editorial Declaration provides a number of guidelines which are intended to be a help of orientation for the transcriber. It considers primarily standard (i.e. frequently recurring) cases where an editorial decision has to be taken (e.g. spelling of names or locations, upper and lower case, long "s" etc.) as well as some rules how editorial omissions and/or additions can be handled.
Editorial Declaration Site
Define a specific Editorial Declaration for a given document is started in the Documents Tab "Editorial Declaration".
- Transcription Features: According to the pecularities of the historical document a user is able to select or define the specific features of a document which shall be transcribed. E.g. if the writer of the document uses instead of "u" just a "v" in his document, the transcriber needs to decide: Shall he transcribe the actual character used in the document "v" or the "u" which was probably the phonetic value at that time. The decision depends a lot on the objective of the transcriber, e.g. linguists will prefer to be very diplomatic, whereas historians will usually prefer the more "readable" solution. Note: For the purpose of HTR we recommend to use the original character also for the transcription, but do not worry: the HTR is also able to learn that "u" and "v" are somehow used in several ways and will cope with this task very well, especially since it will also utilize the language model (dictionary).
- Transcription Options: In many cases there are more than one option, how a transcription feature can be resolved by the transcriber. Therefore once a user has defined a new feature he may add one or several options in the centre window of the Editorial Declaration.
- Selected Features: Of course not all features are relevant for every document. E.g. in modern documents "u" and "v" will be clearly separated, therefore it makes no sense to select this feature for a given document.
- Preset Features: We have defined some common features, but the user is always able to edit and adapt them to his needs.
- The Selected Features are connected with the given document, but can also be used as a template for other documents, e.g. of the same edition as well.
- The Editorial Declaration will also be part of the Export files (currently not implemented).
For those who want to have a closer look to this important issue, we have gathered some useful links:
- English Handwriting 1500-1700: Basic Conventions for Transcription
- Empfehlungen zur Edition frühneuzeitlicher Texte
- Deutsches Textarchiv: Richtlinien zur Texterfassung
- u/v, i/j, and transcribing other early modern textual oddities
- Early Letterforms and Symbols
- A Guide to Documentary Editing
- Editing Guidelines for Printed Early Modern Texts
- Transcription of Early Letter Forms in Rare Materials Cataloging