Transcription Formatting


We will be creating our transcriptions within Omeka, with limited editorial intervention and only minor formatting.


Try to render the location of letterhead text, dates and places, and salutations and closings on the line as close to the original using flush left, center, and flush right. If the text is actually between centered and flush, go with the more traditional placement (see samples section).


Do not add spacing between sentences or paragraphs. There should be one space between a paragraph and one empty line between paragraphs.


Try to limit the bracketing by collapsing words together whenever possible—

  • [who said] rather than [who] [said].
  • <I think that> rather than <I> <think> <that>


We do not transcribe page breaks, ex. adding line breaks, putting in page numbers or repeated headings.

Instead we note page breaks by including a bracketed [page 2] at the point where it occurs in the original. If the page break occurs in the middle of the word, do not break the word up, but insert the [page 2] after the word.

The goal here is to allow the reader of the transcription to locate the right place in the image, so sometimes we need to be creative.

  • When an article has two or more pages on a frame, we will use the page numbering that appears on the document— so the first image might contain both page one and [page 2].
  • If we had to break up an article into several image pages for legibility (usually long or wide newspaper clippings)— we will use [page] breaks to signal that we are on the next image.

Page breaks should appear right after the last word on the page. Do not put them on their own line. If there is a new paragraph on the next page, there should be a line space as always.

If there are repeated words, added intentionally to aid in reading, render the word only once, on the earlier page.


Some documents have references, either an asterisk and some text at the bottom of the page, or footnote or endnote numbers. We will include the marker in the text, and at the bottom of the document, repeat the marker in brackets and provide the text.

If the document uses asterisks and puts notes at the bottom of the page but then repeats the asterisk on another page, we will make it [**] to make it clear which note belongs to which entry.

This model town embodied not only his hopes and ambitions, but stood for the peculiar effort which a man makes for that which is misunderstood.[1] …

[1] While the town of Pullman was in the process of construction the Pullman stock was sometimes called out on the New York Exchange: "How much for flowerbeds and foundations?" To which the company naturally objected.


Include the transcription of the address in a postcard, much as you would in a letter.


When there is an image of an envelope we do not transcribe it. The only exception is if there is a note or message on the envelope. Then transcribe just the note, not the address information.

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