gahetNA in the National Archives

Making and editing transcriptions

What is a transcription?

On this website, by transcription we mean a typed out copy of a handwritten record. ‘Transcribe’ means literally to ‘make a written copy’.

On this website you can to make your own transcription from scanned records. In this way you can also help to improve the website for other visitors:

  • Not everyone is good at reading old documents. By making transcriptions you also make the information available to these visitors.
  • The text will be traceable through our own search functions as well as through external search engines such as Google.
  • The transcribed text can easily be copied and reused, for example in an article or website.

How to make a transcription

  • Find the scan
    You can only make transcriptions of scanned records that are available on the website. You must be logged in to make a transcription. Please refer to the help about ‘My Profile’ to create an account.
  • Typing in the transcription
    Click below the scan on ‘Make a transcription’. At the top of the screen you will now see a zoomable version of the scan – zooming in will enable you to see a legible version on your screen (use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out). At the bottom of the screen you will find a form where you can make your transcription.
    Type in the transcription in the large text box. Type in the text verbatim, i.e. letter for letter and word for word. If you cannot read everything or don’t have time to type out the whole page, you can also leave bits out. Another visitor can carry on where you left off.
  • Write a comment
    You can then leave behind a short message to indicate what you have done, for example ‘First version’, or ‘Additions made’, or ‘First paragraph complete’. This helps the editorial team and other visitors when assessing your transcription.
  • Save
    Click on Save to save your transcription. The transcription will then become immediately visible to other visitors.

Editing transcriptions

If a transcription has already been made, it will appear below the scan. You can improve or add to the transcription by clicking on ‘Edit this transcription’. In this way you can work together with others on the same transcriptions.

By clicking on ‘History’ you can see who has contributed to the transcription and read the comments they have written.

Continuing a transcription

When you are logged in you can see an overview of all the transcriptions that you have contributed to. This means that you can easily go back later and carry on where you left off.

Old handwriting

Older records are often difficult to read. The ‘Geneaknowhow’ website provides a self-study course (in Dutch) which you can download from their website. And of course practice makes perfect - so do come back regularly to help make transcriptions!

gahetNA is a website of the Society for the Nationaal Archief in cooperation with the Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo.
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