Sign Up To Be A Second Transcriber
- Taking the original transcription and checking it entry by entry against
the microfilm for accuracy, noting corrections, comments about questionable
items, etc. and then discussing with the original transcriber
and agreeing on what is the correct entry to be submitted as the final
transcription. If an agreement can't be reached, the second transcriber notes
what they see in the Remarks Columns with the preface, "Proofreader see xx
as xxxxx." Remember, these transcriptions are to be exactly
as they appear on the original, errors and all!
- Finding a 1st transcription that has already been completed or in progress
that you would be willing to complete by doing a 2nd transcription. You do this
by going to the state/year pages from
http://www.usgwcensus.org/states.htm and looking for the completed
- What will you need to perform a second transcription?
- You will receive a database (.dbf or .xls or .wks or ect.) file or a text file
from either the transcriber or your state census coordinator.
- You import this database into the same transcription program used by the
transcriber, and print out a paper report.
- Now you take this report to the place where the microfilm you are using is
located and compare the two.
- Note every difference or discrepancy, no matter how small or how numerous,
and contact the transcriber.
- The transcriber and proofreader then compare the two versions and settle on an
agreed solution to all discrepancies, thus determining the final version to be used.
- In order to proofread these records, you must have access to the microfilm and
a microfilm reader, usually at a private or public library. There is nearly always
one within convenient distance of you. (NOTE: A CD image of the actual microfilm
will work as well but usually the actual microfilm is a better source.)
- Other Information About Second Transcriptions
- In some cases, the original enumeration schedules may be proofread in other ways,
such as from photocopies or CD-ROM computer images taken from the microfilm, but in
all cases it must be remembered that microfilm provides the highest quality source.
Proofreading can never be done from previously published transcriptions
(transcriptions done outside this project, often incomplete or poorly done).
The Census Project requires that at least one of either the transcribing or the
proofreading be done from the microfilm, and strongly recommends that ALL proofreading
be done in this manner.
- When we say proofreading, we mean much more than a casual check for typographical
errors. In our system, proofreading is essentially a second independently performed
transcription. Every single entry on every single line is to be checked against the
microfilm original. Every discrepancy must be noted, whether data entry error,
omission or addition, or simply a different interpretation of spelling used in hard
to read handwriting. Our transcriptions are to include every single thing found in
the original record, "right" or "wrong," and are to include nothing that is not found
there (see exceptions to this rule regarding surnames, family and dwelling numbers,
and usage of ditto on the Census
- So far, so good. But..... How long is this all going to take? Good question. The
time to do this will vary with each transcription. The size of the enumerated
population, the legibility of the enumerator's handwriting, and the number of
discrepancies found will all be factors. In any case, proofreading takes less
time and is easier than creating the initial transcription, but equally important
in producing the most accurate and faithful reproduction of the original record that
- Sign Up To Be A Second Transcriber at
- What to expect after the sign up has been
- You will receive a welcome letter.
- You will need to submit to us some information.
- Once this information is submitted you will receive an assignment confirmation,
be added to the Census Transcriber
Mailing List (USGWARCH-CEN-L) and further information.
If you are a transcriber looking for someone to proofread your transcription,
please contact your state census coordinator or me at