Transcription Using Transcript

by JL Beeken on 6-06-2007

I knew I was forgetting something. I’m at an age now where my memory cells seem to be diminishing at an ever-increasing speed.

Digitized newspapers clippings, for instance, can be transcribed to text from images using a program called Transcript.

I was over at Ancestry.com going merrily through a batch of old newspapers, (Wow, look at that, in 1890 my great-grandfather received a commendation at a county fair for a “mammoth cucumber”… He was a conductor for the NYC. Who would have guessed he was also a cucumber aficionado?) and saving page after page to my computer, muttering under my breath “why don’t they have a highlighter tool so I don’t have to search for the snippet again later …,” mutter, mutter …

I’ve just wasted the better part of an evening due to my memory lapse but it’s all coming back to me now. If you collect old newspaper clippings this way, there’s a few reasons why there’s a better way. Unless you need the whole page or plan to print the entire page, you don’t need a graphics file 4,000 pixels wide. Just personally, every program on my computer will crash, at the very least flail and gag, on a picture that large. And then of course, the above already-mentioned: you’ll have to scroll all over the place to find the 3 lines you saved the page for in the first place. This will waste a lot of your time.

You may recall my post about screen capture tools. That’s all you need. It’s much easier to take a screen-shot of the clipping you want than to save the whole page and then search again and crop it out. Assuming you have a screen-shot program, (and they’re free) just click on the “rectangular” option and drag a rectangle around the clip you’re interested in and save it. Now you can go from newspaper to newspaper taking screen-shots and in no time at all you’ll have a folder full of clippings. I save them according to the date and name of the newspaper as I’ll want this information for my database.

If you’ve missed this program, Transcript is indispensable for working with newspapers, and any other text you need to type from a digital image.¬†Transcript is free, and it works much better than, say, opening a semi-minimized text document on top of your Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

You can also import images directly from your scanner. Either way you can zoom them up to the size you need. There’s all the usual word-processing tools for setting up your transcription the way you want.

Transcript

Transcript

The screen is split in two horizontally so you open the image on top and type the text down below. I start by typing in the name of the newspaper and date for the heading of the article I’m transcribing. It’s important to keep that source intact and it makes it simple to go from there to my database by copy and paste. Save your transcription once you’re finished. If you’re using the MRIN filing system add the appropriate MRIN and save it along with the original image of the same name in your digital library.

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