Why Not Transcribe the Letters Here?

I’ve been going round and round about what software to use for the transcriptions, from simple text editors to open-source word processing software to Microsoft Word (the least attractive). I’ve looked at a number of academic transcribing systems, but I am this close to not being associated with any academic institution and, so, will not have an opportunity to work where I could publish the work on an academic server, nor have the human resources to help me work with such software. Here’s an example of such software, although it is primarily for sites where a community of users can help transcribe your items: Scripto. I don’t want that sort of project, but the software options and results are interesting. You can see under the User’s guide menu that Scripto can be used with a WordPress installation (the org not the dotcom WordPress).

So, that got me thinking and doing some more wandering around the web looking at how other people handle letters. Then out of the blue and thanks to the D-Day anniversary, @neinquarterly tweeted a link to one of Kurt Vonnegut’s war letters:

Letters of Note is an attractive site and I like the presentation of the letter images and their transcriptions. Why don’t I just transcribe them here on this site? Initially I was going to provide the transcriptions on a password protected page on the site for family, anyway, but I had been knocking around a weird  process of transcribing them in Word, pasting them in iBooks Author, then pasting them here—that never sounded good. Why not just do the transcribing here, treating the site as a content management system?

I had hoped and still do hope to put the letters in a book with essays I will write about them, but I don’t know anything about publishing books, having only published a few scholarly articles long ago, and am likely to just do some kind of self-publishing in the end. Until then, I ask myself again, “Why not just do the transcribing right here in this site?”

 

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