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Transcription Guidelines

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Creator's Note

This free space page was started out of a need for standards among a team transcribing the Union County Sesquicentennial Book. However, our goal is to write generalized guidelines that can be used in transcribing any text to be published as a WikiTree free space page. Our initial inspiration will be the National Archives Transcribing Tips.

This page was created after a search for existing transcription guidelines returned no results. If a similar page exists, please consider merging the two pages.

- Kelly Leonard 20:56, 23 August 2021 (UTC)


  • Keep in mind that the goal is to make the book or document searchable online.
  • Type text exactly as things are written in the original except for items that are repeated on each page and add nothing to the work, such as headers or footers.
  • Use brackets [ ] to insert notes about something (e.g., misspelled word, something illegible).
  • While keeping in mind that many formats seen in texts aren't even possible in WikiTree, you should agree as a team what available WikiTree formats should be used and how the team will use them to help make the work most readable, accessible and simple to transcribe. See WikiTree's Editing Tips for more information.
  • If editing using WikiTree's editor, save your work often to prevent loss of work.
  • If feasible, use external word processing software to edit, but copy finished work to WikiTree frequently to ensure completed work is available to the public.
  • If you decide to use an external word processing software to edit, try to choose one, such as a web-based editor, that automatically saves your work as you go to prevent loss of work.
  • Use a Transcriber's Notes section at the beginning of your transcription to provide comments to the reader about how the work was transcribed.
  • Keep in mind that everything helps, so don't worry if you can't complete an entire document or book.
  • When working as a team of transcribers, divvy up tasks according to skill levels and preference; much work can be done in external editors by transcribers lacking experience with WikiTree then handed off to those with WikiTree skills for final editing and posting.

Guidelines Specific to the Union County Sesquicentennial Book

  • See the finished portion of the book in the external editor for examples of all of these guidelines.
  • Omit the repeating page headers, as they would interrupt the flow of reading in the online version without conveying anything useful to the reader. These are the headers that read HISTORICAL RECORD OF UNION COUNTY, INDIANA 1821-1971 .
  • Insert the word "Page" before page numbers, and move the pagination to the top of the page. This a more logical location for an online version.
  • Insert the word "Photo" followed by a colon (:) prior to photo captions.
  • Move photo captions to a logical place that doesn't interrupt the flow of reading the text. Usually the most logical place will be between paragraphs near where the subject of the photo is discussed.
  • Ignore the following formats in the external word processor, as they cannot be carried into WikiTree without special coding. If you know the special WikiTree coding, you may use it if you feel the format it creates helps the transcription adhere to other guidelines. It is suggested that you consult with other editors before doing so to help ensure consistency throughout the work.
    • bold, italics and underline
    • centering and other alignments, including tabs
    • tables
    • other font faces (use Courier New throughout)
    • bullets and numbered/lettered list formats
  • The following guidelines assist with proper formatting in WikiTree when using an external word processing tool to prep the text.
    • Insert a blank line between each paragraph.
    • Precede the advertisement footers by four spaced hyphens (- - - -) followed by a blank line. These hyphens must be spaced or WikiTree will convert them to a solid line across the page. Note, however, that our external word processor will insert indentation after entering the first hyphen and pressing space. Press the Undo button or the CTRL+Z shortcut to cancel that automatic replacement.
    • Prior to a page number, insert a series of four unspaced hyphens (----) followed by a blank line then the following string of code. This will result in a solid line across the WIkiTree page followed by a quick link to take the reader back to the beginning of the book. Note, however, that our external word processor will convert this to a border line. Press the Undo button or the CTRL+Z shortcut to cancel that automatic replacement.
<nowiki>[[https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Space:Union_County_Sesquicentennial_Book#toc Back to top]]</nowiki>

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