Helping on Transcriptions

If you want to help with tricky transcriptions, you can edit the Omeka transcriptions directly or add comments.

Login to the Omeka site

If you can't remember your username or password, let Cathy know and she will reset them.

Finding documents to check


If you don't have a preference you can search for documents using the Help! tag. These are documents that student transcribers had problems with.

Click on the Tags tab on the left and then navigate to the Help! tag.


Click on the number to the right of the tag name (in image it is "87") to pull up all documents with that tag.

You should see a list of documents.

Checking documents by date or author

You may be able to read Jane Addams' hand, but not Alice Hamilton; or want to help with documents scheduled to go online sooner. To do that you can navigate using fields in addition to the Help! tag.

Go to the Items tab and open Search Items.
Use the section "Narrow by Specific Fields" and enter the criteria:

  • For dates, select "Date" from the field list, choose "contains" and then type the year you want to work on in the text box below. Then select "Tags" lower down on the form and choose "Help!" Press "Search for Items" to get the list of document which are stumping us.
  • For authors, select "Creator" in the dropdown field list, and choose "contains" and then enter the author name in the text box below. Note it should be last name, first name. (ex. Hamilton, Alice)

Editing the document

Click on the "Edit" link on a document from the search results. You'll see the metadata and thumbnails of the images.

There are a series of tabs along the top and you should use two (three if you solve all the problems!).

Dublin Core

This is the default tab that is open at the start.

Scroll down to the Contributor field and click the "Add Input" button to open a new data entry window.

Select your name from the dropdown to add it to the record. If your name is already there (you entered the document or are making corrections to info that you already saved, don't bother adding it again.) We are trying to keep track of who contributed to the document and may have names appear in the credits for each one. If you make a minor change or don't want to be listed, then skip this.

Item Type Metadata

Click on this tab to open the transcription window.

Scroll to the Text field.

You can edit the text of the transcription in this box.

  • Remember to use [brackets] for instances where you are fairly sure that the text is correct, and for instance where the author has misspelled a word (this is so that searches will find it).
  • Use [bracketed question marks?] when you are less confident in your reading of the document.
  • Please remove brackets and question marks if you are confident that the reading is correct.

Focus more on removing illegibles than on unbracketing words. It is all right if we highlight where the handwriting is difficult, the user can use this as a cue to check the original.


If there are no more [illegible]s on the transcription when you have finished editing it, click on the Tags tab and click the x next to the Help! tag to remove it from the document. It won't come up on the list of ones needing help any longer.

Saving the Record

Once you have made these changes, press the Green "Save this Record" button on the right side.

Note that if you navigate away from the page, you will lose changes. This does not mean moving from tab to tab, but leaving the document. We are developing a plugin to ask "are you sure?"


Depending on your membership in the site, you may not be able to edit Omeka records directly, but that does not mean that you cannot help.

After you login to the site, go to the public view by clicking the words "Jane Addams Papers Digital Edition" at the top left.

Follow the directions above to locate documents to be checked. Rather than editing the documents, you can submit a comment at the bottom of the page, where you can suggest readings:

The first illegible on page 2 is probably "Christmas tree"

I think that the sentence reads: "I sent a specialist—Dr. Church out to Elgin this week,"

The editors will get a message that you have commented and will check the document and make the changes.

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