Our resources include a series of videos explaining how to read and transcribe 17th and 18th century English handwriting. We also have created a transcription manual for the Pemberton Papers, our first dataset available for transcribing.

Transcription Video Series

In this instructional video series, the PRINT team explains how to understand and read 17th and 18th century English handwriting. Through the letters of Phineas Pemberton, an English Quaker shopkeeper who migrated to Pennsylvania in the 1680s, viewers will learn the methods of paleography. The videos present tips and tricks for how to identify dated characters/symbols, discern illegible words by building context, read different dating systems, and accurately record transcribed data according to modern editorial standards.

Scroll down to find the full set of videos, or access the playlist.

Building a Base: Introduction to Transcribing

This video provides an introduction to the process of transcribing seventeenth-century letters that are a part of PRINT - People, Religion, Information Networks, and Travel - a digital humanities project. You will learn tips on how to read difficult handwriting, the advantages of crowd-sourced transcriptions, and their contribution to the scholarly community.


Consider the Context of Content

In this video we will explore how you can build context from standard letter content such as date, location, salutation and signature. By exploring these common elements, transcribers can learn to build the context of a letter which will help them to understand and accurately read its content.


What's in a Word?

In this video, we will learn additional steps transcribers can take to understand confusing or misspelled words. Strategies include comparing and contrasting letter shapes, considering pronunciation, paying attention to context, and utilizing off-site resources.


Transcription Guidelines

In this video we will cover the general guidelines for transcribing as laid out in the Pemberton Papers Transcription Manual. By using easily recognizable characters, words, and features, this video demonstrates how transcribers can understand a letters content. In addition, we will also discuss how to understand content by building the letters context.


Most Difficult Letters

In this video the characters E, O, R, A, C, T, S, F, M, N, and H, some of which can be confused with other characters, are examined. By looking at these characters in their contexts in letters written by Phineas Pemberton and Roger Longworth, we demonstrate visual cues that can help transcribers determine letters in 17th century correspondence.

Talks & Presentations

Conversation August 2019 between Bruce Janz, Director of UCF’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research, and Rosalind Beiler about the evolution of PRINT.

PRINT team members present a Digital Toolbox Talk on “Learning about Leaflet to Make Mobile Friendly Maps” at UCF’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research, November 2019.