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HIST 318 US Military History and HIST413 American Military Experience

Tools and guidelines for transcription and documentary editing

Introduction to Transcribing and Editing Historical Documents

This research guide includes tools and guidelines to assist you with your transcription assignment. Handwritten documents are not always easy to read or decipher. Also, there is a whole field devoted to the editing of historical documents. Transcribing and annotating historical documents, such as letters and diaries, open up primary sources to those that will not always devote the time and energy to sit in an archives to read original documents or have the capabilities to read older handwriting.  Transcribed documents also allow for quicker review of keyword and subjects if the researcher is stretched for time.

Therefore, the work you will produce for the transcripting assignment  will find a permanent home with the letters and diary pages that you transcribe and be a major help in our efforts to better disseminate our vast holdings to a wider audience.

Access Tools

Special Collections Research Center Access Tools :There are a variety of tools available to guide you in finding materials in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) including video tutorials. Don't forget that you also may come into the SCRC in person and consult with the staff member on duty for guidance.

Swem Library also produces video tutorials to assist you in How to Read & Understand Catalog Records for BooksFinding Full-Text Electronic Books & Documents in Swem Library's CatalogFind it: A Basic Guide (note this discovery tool's brand name is Summon).

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Suggested Subject Headings:

  • African Americans
  • African Americans--Education--Virginia
  • African Americans--Religion