About: Part III - Editorial Principles


Our overall editorial goals are (a) to faithfully represent and share the bibliographical data that Stainforth cataloged in his manuscript, and (b) to make these data understandable to those not familiar with Stainforth’s abbreviations and cataloging style. This project is not a detailed study of the manuscript itself, thus we have not transcribed and encoded every mark or space in the manuscript. If you suspect we made an error in our transcription, please send us suggested corrections. We are grateful for your input.

We transcribed the manuscript one page at a time into a shared Google Sheet and, concurrently, lightly encoded our transcriptions according to our style guide. We preserved blank lines and blank pages. In order to represent the structure of the manuscript and its data in its original form, and to make it useful for scholars, we encoded our transcription in XML according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5 Guidelines, version 3.0.0. We transcribed each line from left to right across the page, preserving Stainforth’s spelling, punctuation, style, abbreviations, spaces (though not the exact dimensions of the space), and other marks that pertain to the catalog’s content. For example, where Stainforth uses “Xtn” to indicate “Christian,” we transcribed the abbreviation as is. We separated entities where necessary by a single space. For accented letters and nonstandard characters, we use the actual character rather than a character entity reference, where possible; nonstandard characters, like checkmarks, are represented as HTML character entity references.

TEI Tagging of Transcriptions 

[Note: CKEditor will not publish any elements I type in this textbox if enclosed in angle brackets, so I temporarily substitute { and } brackets for < and >. I am working on configuring the editor to allow me to write code in it with angle brackets that will display when published. Thanks for your patience with this!]

We indicate unclear content by surrounding it with the {del} tag (see tag set below) and identify illegible letters with the @ symbol. For instance, line 4 on page 339 is difficult to read and so was transcribed as “J3 P (L. E) Here a Little {unclear}@@@{/unclear} 2d Ed [1851]”. We employ a similar method for representing content missing due to page damage, such as in the entry “J12 Adams (S. F) 6 Hymns in the Boston Book of {damage}Hymxx{/damage}”.The xx stands for characters missing due to damage, and we indicate in a note what those missing characters are if we can find a verified source. Where content is underlined, crossed out, or added between lines, we encoded it with the appropriate tag.

Here is our initial editorial tag set. To see our full tag set, download the XML/TEI-encoded version of the catalog.

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The Parsed Data

After we completed editing the transcriptions, we duplicated them and divided them into separate fields for shelfmark, author, title, publication place, publication date, and format. This is to say that the transcription data exists in two formats in our database: (1) as a replica of the data as it appears in Stainforth’s manuscript on each line, and (2) with that same data parsed into unique fields. To increase searchability, we edited some of the data after they had been parsed into multiple fields. We did not make any of these changes to the original transcriptions. In the parsed version of the data:

  • We removed the punctuation from shelfmarks.
  • For the many entries that list an unidentified text in a named collection, we reordered the title to favor the named collection. For example, where Stainforth lists the title “Hymn in Muggleton,” we reorder the title entry to read “Muggleton, Hymn in” to emphasize the part that leads to the title Divine Songs of the Muggletonians, since we cannot easily discern which hymn it is in the collection. Similarly, in the rare case that Stainforth put “The” before the rest of the title instead of after it, we moved the article. For example, “The Shrine” was edited to “Shrine, The”.
  • Edition and volume numbers are also listed in a regularized fashion in the separate Title field. For example: “Letters + Poems. 3rd Ed”, “Voices of Xtn Life. 2nd Ed”, “Posthumous Works. 2 Vols. 2nd Ed”.

“Stainforthisms”: Common Abbreviations in the Library Catalog

  • “4to.”: quarto
  • “8o.”: octavo
  • “12o.”: duodecimo
  • “+c.”: etcetera. We include this here because Stainforth’s “+c” can look like “+s” in the manuscript. His “+” also occasionally resembles “&”.
  • “✓”: Used in the shelfmark column.
  • “=”: Stainforth sometimes uses the equals sign to tell the reader a second name for an author. For example, in the entry “A8 Moodie (Mrs = Strickland) Enthusiasm 1831”, “Moodie (Mrs = Strickland)”  tells us that Moodie is the maiden name for Mrs Strickland.
  • “Com.”: Comedy
  • “Do.”: “Ditto,” which Stainforth often uses to indicate that an author, title, or other content is the same as that specified in the line above in the manuscript.
  • “ : Stainforth also uses double quotation marks to mean “ditto.”
  • “______ ____ ___”: Stainforth also occasionally uses a series of underscored lines as another way to indicate “ditto.”
  • Fol.: folio
  • “Mifs”: Stainforth often uses the long “s” when writing two s’s in a row.
  • “Pl” or “Pls” at end of entry: This abbreviation denotes “plate” or “plates” and indicates that this volume has illustrated plates, sometimes with color.
  • “Port” at end of an entry: This abbreviation denotes “portrait” and tells the reader that this volume has an author portrait or multiple portraits inside.
  • “Pr. Pr.”: Privately Printed
  • “Tr”: This usually indicates that a work is a tragedy. However, Stainforth also sometimes uses it to mean “translated.”
  • “Xtn”: Christian, e.g., page 302, “Montgomery (J) Xtn Psalmist”