In a new EMROC record, we’ve finished keying the Dawson manuscript! But not stopping here: we’re on to the next manuscript. Since the Transcribathon is still going on, we’d like to take this transcription energy and work on Margaret Turner’s. It’s W.a.112, and full of great culinary and medicinal recipes, in a fairly easy hand.
So happy transcribing! Turner’s manuscript is available on Dromio just like Dawson’s was; just click “TurnerWA112” and then pick a page with 1 or 2 in the “started” column. We may get through this one as well, in which case we’ll be back with a third suggestion.
The first recipe I chose to transcribe today was Jane Dawson’s wound drink. It looked like a nice short recipe to start with! But, as I worked, I realised that it is a great one for highlighting (a) tricky things that might come up and (b) the process of decision-making involved in transcribing.
Apart from the whole sideways thing, it looks pretty easy, right? And fortunately, there is a handy rotation feature in Dromio. You can find it at the top left, if you encounter something similar. You can also zoom in to make the page bigger, if the print is too small.
It was easy to get the first bits. I represented the new page by highlighting the page number and clicking pb (image A). Then I showed the recipe title by clicking on hd (image C). As I worked, I noticed the apothecary symbols (image B)… and groaned: ‘How am I supposed to represent those again?’ Fortunately, Heather Wolfe from the Folger was working with me at the Wellcome pop-up. She reminded me: write it out in English and represent it as a metamark (mrk).
I kept the Roman numerals, as Dawson had written them. If you need to look up any apothecary symbols, though, the Folgerpedia entry on measurements can help you to indentify them!
The start of a letter–probably an ‘h’ based on Dawson’s other letter forms–before ‘real’ (D) also gave me pause. Was it part of the word? Was it something other than ‘real’? Would any word variation that includes it make sense here? Heather and I took a look at the higher resolution images available through the Folger’s online catalogue, agreeing that it looked like a false start on Dawson’s part. We decided to represent it as a deletion, using del, to ‘honour Dawson’s error’ (as Heather put it) rather than ignoring it. Of course, ignoring it would have been a valid choice on the part of a transcriber, too!
The last issue was how to represent that the recipe was turned on its side, inserted, and pinned in. Here’s what to do… 1) If your page is just sideways, you don’t need to do anything. 2) Insertions and pins, however, are QUITE EXCITING. And these do get the rarely used note treatment to describe what it is. For this, I placed a note describing these details at the bottom of the page, highlighted it, and clicked on note.
As this example shows, there is a lot that goes into transcribing — decisions need to be made as you go along, and there is not necessary a right answer. But if you’re in doubt and want a second opinion, just let us know!
Last week, Rebecca Laroche and Hillary Nunn suggested in jest that we should build a soundtrack to mark this year’s more-eventful-than-usual travel to DC. So… here is just a little fun I had on the train! You can either click on the hyperlinks for added fun OR check out the Spotify playlist that Mark Gudgeon (@gudge75 on Twitter) has assembled for us.
In September 2018, EMROC was planning our fourth annual Transcribathon and Steering Committee meetings at the Folger Shakespeare Library. To our chagrin, also in the mix was Florence, a formidable storm that originated in Africa. After days of anticipating the storm, and just when we thought the Waiting was the hardest part, Florence hit the North Carolina coast with a fury, leaving poor Maggie in Raleigh (though inland) blowing in the wind and being rocked like a hurricane. It really was nasty. In fact, poor Maggie said it shook her all night long. And just when it seemed things might clear, it seemed, here comes the rain again.
Meanwhile, Rebecca and Hillary decided to hold on and see if they would make it to DC, even though Florence’s track kept changing. Will Florence disrupt things all the way to DC? And Jen, in Charlotte, remained in the danger zone. Elaine Leong, thankfully, arrived in the States in advance of the storm, and it looked like she would be able to take the downtown train from Baltimore to DC without trouble. Maggie Simons and my flight plans remained uncertain, so we both tried to book trains in vain and waited to see if the airports would stay open. While those of us in Charlotte and Raleigh worked on alternative plans to Skype in for meetings, in the sights of the storm, we were also worried about losing the power. We were all under pressure.
Just when things looked really bad,
Florence decided to beat it and head south just enough that Raleigh’s airport
could open, and Maggie saw the sign that she could get to DC. Likewise, it appeared
Hillary and Rebecca could see clearly now that they too would make it to the DC
area. But Florence had Charlotte in her sights, and Jen kept going back and forth about whether her flight would be canceled,
whether she would drive. “Should I
stay or should I go?” she wondered. In the end, she decided to push it and
drive to Richmond on Saturday, then a crazy train
to DC Sunday morning.
Excerpt from Jane Dawson’s book. Credit: Folger Shakespeare Library.
Thank you for stopping by our transcribathon today. We’re so glad that you’ve decided to join us.
We’re kicking things off at the wonderful Wellcome Library in London at 10:00 UK time. The Library is kindly allowing Heather Wolfe (Folger Shakespeare Library) and I to use their Viewing Room for a pop-up event. Have digitized documents, will travel!
There are a few details about today that you might find useful before getting started.
A FAQ page that covers everything from whether you should modernise the English (no) or moving the transcription box around to how to represent what you see on the page (e.g. page breaks, symbols, and more).
A miscellanea of what the buttons on the transcribing platform (Dromio) mean, what a transcribed page would look like, and more.
Don’t worry about making mistakes or putting in all the fiddly coding. We’re triple-keying for accuracy (which means three people will do the same page) and will edit for a final version.
The most useful thing for us is that you write what you see on the page. In terms of the coding, it’s especially helpful if you capture the basics (line breaks, page breaks, thorn (often appearing as a y instead of th, as in ye) and expand certain words (see the section on semi-diplomatic transcription here).
If you’re a novice to early modern handwriting, my top tip is beware of the long s! It looks like an f, but should be transcribed as an s. You can read a bit about the history of the long s here. You might also be interested in learning more about the type of transcription we’re doing: semi-diplomatic. The Early Modern Manuscripts Online project at the Folger has a good information page on it.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, keep in mind that all questions are good questions. If you’re having technical troubles or can’t understand our guides (user-related or platform-related), it’s helpful for us to know. If you’re having trouble deciphering a word, a community of fellow transcribers is here to help. If you want to know what a mystery ingredient is, the fun is in the discussions as others try to help.
One of the great delights of a transcribathon is people sharing the things they spot when transcribing. So please drop in to introduce yourselves, share your interesting tidbits, ask questions, and share your wisdom.
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Bouquet, 1603. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
We have a quick request before you start transcribing: would you fill in a very short pre-transcribathon survey? It will take no more than five minutes. Out goal is to learn a bit more about our transcribers and their knowledge before the event. (There will be a follow-up survey post-transcribathon, too.) The survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/THN8DZS .
Thank you for your help–both participating today and filling in the survey! We are so delighted that you’ve decided to work with us today and look forward to hearing more about it.
From Jane Dawson, V.a.14, Folger Shakespeare Library.
On 18 September, we’ll be hosting our annual transcribathon. This year, we’re working on the wonderful Jane Dawson book. It is an interesting example of a manuscript book from the middling sorts, and has lots of food and medicine. Rebecca Laroche discusses the book here.
We’d love to have you join in. Things will be kicking off in the UK at 10:00 (UK-time) and will continue over the next twelve hours. During those twelve hours, we’ll be talking about what we’re transcribing on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog…
If you’d like to join in, please see our announcement here or catch up on Liza Blake’s recent blog post on bringing transcription into the classroom.
To join in, drop me a line in the comments, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @historybeagle.