Directory Transcription Process

Today, we started to open the directory graphics we shot the other day and to type the content of the pages into the MHMS system’s Excel spreadsheets. This entry is going to expand on this part of the work cycle (noted as 5, in the entry above).

The method we use for transferring the text content of the directory pages into digital format is as follows. Dave, one of our IT specialists, has made a set of Excel spreadsheets that mimic the sort of historical documents we are handling – so, when we are working with directories, we open the ‘directory’ spreadsheet, enter the year of publication, directory and publisher names into the top fields of the sheet and then type the content of the directory page into the body of the Excel doc. It’s easy to understand what goes where, given the attention to detail that’s gone into the design of the spreadsheets – our ‘System Documents’.

In a single day’s work, about 15-20 directories can be processed by the average volunteer, so it’s about a weeks work for an individual to process the information for a small street, like Pelham. We usually work in small groups, often sitting next to one another and working with consecutive directories. This makes the whole process of transcription more sociable, sometimes lets us cross check data with one another and, of course, it cuts down on the calendar days taken – same number of man days though!