MarineLives Transcription & Editorial Policy: Version 6 Current Policy

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MarineLives Transcription & Editorial Policy: Version 6 Current Policy

This is current policy and should be applied to all transcriptions from June 1st, 2015

The original aim of the transcribers was to create a semi-diplomatic edition of the HCA documents. As such, transcribers, for the most part, transcribe exactly what they see using the following conventions.

However this has been modified slightly as the material may be used to trial search techniques with new computer programs, because of this we no longer transcribe anything that has been crossed out.

You may wish to check out the wiki skills page before you start, many people start by transcribing into word first and then cutting and pasting their transcriptions.
If you do this anything that needs to be put in bold or italics will need to be done after you have cut and pasted it into the wiki.

The page

This should be transcribed by transcribing what you see. Contractions and suspensions should be expanded using the conventions in this list
Merchants marks that are in the left hand margin can be indicated like this [LEFT MARGIN]
Any text in the margins that should be in the body of the text and is indicated with an insertion mark should be typed with the body of the text, but leave a line space on either side if there are several lines of text.


Punctuation is different from what we are used to, there are often marks above and below letters and at the end of lines - ignore these marks. Do not try to impose modern punctuation conventions.
However do include the marks at the end of paragraphs e.g.:/. or ./.


Do not capitalize letters that are not written in capitals. Transcribe what you see.

Capitals are often bigger versions of the smaller letters, although some are quite different here is a sample alphebet to remind you [1], alth sometimes it is a matter of judgement.
The use of J was very rare at the time, normally an i is used instead. Although you do find it occasionally.

Be particularly careful that you do not capitalise the names of people, places, and ships if they are not capitalised in the original.

Be particularly observant of the differences between lower and upper case "c/C" and "h/H"

& The ampersand represents the word ‘and’. Transcribe it as ‘and’ without putting it in italics. If it is part of a Latin phrase, transcribe it as ‘et’.

Some words are commonly abbreviated, e.g. ‘arle’ for ‘article’. Put supplied letters in italics. Below is a list of commonly abbreviated and contracted words.

Letters supplied by transcriber

When adding in letters or words to expand contractions just type the word normally - no special marking is required.

If you are not sure what a letter is put an X

Letters lost due to manuscript staining or damage

Leave out any crossings out. Letters that are difficult to read due to staining or damage can be indicated with a ? and a X for each letter you are not sure about.


Only ever leave one space after a full stop, comma, semi-colon, or any form of punctuation, no matter how much space the clerk left.

Line breaks

Line breaks in the original manuscript should be shown using a carriage return

Words which are split over lines and which are marked so by the clerk should be shown with "=" (which is the typical symbol used by clerks to indicate such an event)


Thomas Sharpe of the parish of Saint Stephen Coleman=
Street London merchant Late Purser of the sayd shipp
the Swan now called the Satisfaction aged 26, yeares

Tildas (horizonal lines over a letter)

Tildas represent single or double ‘m’ or ‘n’. Be mindful of the different ways of representing ‘per’, ‘pro’, ‘par’, ‘pre’, etc. along with ‘-con’.


"comonly" (with a tilda over the m) should be transcribed as "commonly" (with the second m inserted by the transcriber)