Waring Historical Library Inaugural Theses

The 1,858 inaugural medical theses in the Waring Historical Library collection are, in the words of John Harley Warner, "one of the finest extant collections of antebellum American medical theses."

Transcription Tips

Need help getting started? Here are a few transcription tips from the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL). 

Transcription Standards

These standards are designed to ensure the production of accurate and consistent transcriptions of manuscript sources. They aim to enable the preservation of as much information as possible about the original manuscript in an electronic version encoded in XML. The standards are based on a model that preserves the form and content of the original in a base transcription, but allows an editor to record additional information in an editorial layer, which may be used in the presentation or analysis of the text. Transcribers and editors are expected to preserve a strict separation between the base transcription and the editorial layer, so that the ability to separate the two is maintained. It must always be possible to recover the base transcription.*


Rules for creating the base transcription





Text layout




Missing text


Text Decoration





* In CELL we use a software package called Transcriber’’s Workbench (TW), which is designed to facilitate the implementation of these standards.

** Implementation of the standard requires a method of recording characters and symbols that are used in the manuscript that are not available in the encoding scheme being used by the XML. TW addresses this issue by providing transcribers with glyphs for non-standard characters, scientific symbols etc.

*** XML will ignore whitespace during processing, so gaps recorded using spaces or tabs will not appear in a processed transcription.