Due Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Submission Instructions: Bring printed copy to class and submit digitally (on Box)
By Thursday, November 16, each team should select a set of materials from a Box.com folder of archival images . A word document in the folder provides brief bibliographical information about each box.com folder. Note that some materials are digital images and others are large pdf packets of multiple items. Quality varies from folder to folder and item to item.
Once your team has chosen a folder, you will want to narrow your focus to a small set of interrelated items. Perhaps they will share a topic focus but, more likely, they will represent a pair of correspondents writing back and forth over a relatively focused period of time. For example, perhaps you could locate a back and forth between an agent and an author about finding a publisher for a particular work.
Choose the cluster so that you have one substantive item for transcription per teammate (see below for length requirements). Try to choose a topic that seems interesting to the most team members.
Simple accuracy is perhaps the hardest thing to achieve in an edition, and electronic technology scarcely affects the labor of transcribing and proofreading. Transcription on a keyboard, like writing on animal skins with a quill, still takes place character by character. (Duggan qtd. in Kline and Perdue 139)
This part of the team assignment asks you to pay careful attention to how a primary document like a letter becomes part of a scholarly edition or a researcher's field notes.
Each teammate will be in charge of transcribing a different letter. The letter should be at least a few paragraphs long) and may be a bit shorter if it's handwritten as opposed to type, since handwriting can be difficult to decipher.
Mary Jo Kline and Susan Holbrook Perdue recommend beginning with a non-proofread, un-amended version of document (116). They suggest that it is wise to keep an edited copy of this version for reference. Even this step of the process can be deceiving, as it requires extreme care to replicate all of the nuances of an original document, incuding rsservig misspellings, capitalization, line breaks and page numbers. They recommend turning off autocorrect on Microsoft Word and taking extra care to preserve "errors" in the original document. They add, "the appearance of a typed document should not mislead an editor into ignoring other factors that may dictate editorial treatment" (125)
Once you have completed the first step, you should add the following to the transcription:
Kline and Perdue suggest that documentary editors keep two very different audiences in mind when transcribing materials: the author’s original, intended audience and readers today (231). Thinking about the original audience cn help explain why some details are abbreviated or left out. Meanwhile, "Modern readers almost inevitably need additional facts to understand those words or images as they were intended by their creators and as comprehended by their original readers" (232).
Most big transcription projects have an annotation policy to ensure uniformity across documents and ensure that endnotes do not too aggressively overwhelm the source text. or our project, we will have more annotation than many digital editions largely because our goal is to learn about the modern publishing industry with this assignment. You should add an annotation under the following circumstances:
These assignments will be graded on a check-minus, check, check-plus scale. To get a check plus (A range), you must do a complete and careful transcription that reflects the guidelines I've assigned. You should also have several annotations showing that you are engaging critically with the document. Satisfactory but non-exemplary work will get a check (B range). Very sloppy or incomplete transcriptions will receive check-minuses (C or lower).
Kline, Mary-Jo and Susan Holbrook Perdue, A Guide to Documentary Editing . 1987. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2008.