Home > Getting Started

Getting Started

The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library Archives would like to engage the public in making our collections more accessible. We hope that by working with digital volunteers to transcribe historic documents, we can facilitate research for all who wish to explore our online collections.


Sign in or contribute as a guest.
You are welcome to transcribe without signing into the site. On the other hand, if you want to track your activity, or if you’d like us to know about your contributions, please set up a MediaWiki account and log in before you start working.


Save your work as you go.
To save, click the “Edit transcription” button directly below the box where you enter your text. Remember to save before using navigation buttons so you do not lose your work. Do as much work as you can on a page, but if you can’t complete an item, you can save your work and move on to another.


Transcribe in the way that makes sense for the document. 
Transcribe the page in the way that makes sense to you. For many pages this will be left to right, top to bottom, but some documents can vary. Include all the text you see and note the presence of images, as explained below. For multi-page items, add [end of page] at the bottom of each page of you transcribe, and [beginning of page] at the top of each subsequent page.


Some text can be omitted.
Do not transcribe the penciled number in square brackets at the bottom of each document (usually beginning “HC” or TFC”). This is an internal control number added by the archivists during the scanning project that can be omitted from the transcription. Pre-printed telegram headers can also be omitted since they usually contain information about the telegram company itself, not about the person with whom Frick was communicating. As a general rule, if the letterhead or other document header is directly pertinent to either the sender or receiver of the item at hand, it is useful to have a transcription, otherwise it can be omitted.


Don’t worry about formatting. 
The transcription box doesn’t have formatting tools, so don’t worry about formatting text that is bold, underlined, or italicized. Similarly, you do not have to indicate accent marks or special characters outside of what you see on your keyboard, nor is it necessary to describe the media in which the text is rendered (e.g. pencil, ink, rubber stamp, etc.)  Do your best to transcribe all elements of the document, including letterhead, notes in the margins, and calculations.  For text that appears in a table or other structured format, transcribe line by line as much as possible with a tab between each column.


Write complete words.
Do not break a word or use a dash if it is split between lines. Write the full word instead. This will improve searching of the transcribed text. Don’t correct spelling or grammatical mistakes in the original text. If you have difficulty reading a word, insert double brackets and a question mark like this: [[?]], or put your best guess in double brackets with a question mark, like this: [[Frick?]].


Make a note of any non-textual elements on the page.
If you see a picture, sketch, or other non-textual element on the page, please use the word "image" placed in double brackets: [[image]].  For monograms, insert a short description in double brackets (e.g. [[Duveen Bros. monogram]]).


Work together.
You can work on a transcription someone else has started or review someone else’s work at any time.