As the editors at the Papers of Andrew Jackson note, “Converting handwriting to print is an inexact process.” (Papers of Andrew Jackson, 7:xiii). With this caveat in mind, we have developed a thoughtful editorial methodology in line with the Association for Documentary Editing best practices, one that balances the historical integrity of the documents with readability for the user.
Documents in the PMVB digital edition are verified first-pass transcriptions, meaning that they have been transcribed, then verified by at least one editor before being published on the site. Transcriptions are rendered as literally as possible to best represent authorial intention. Yet, we have also standardized parts of the transcription process. For example, regardless of their placement in a letter, date lines and greetings always appear at the beginning, and signature lines always appear at the end. Interlineations are indicated with ^carets^, crossed-out words with
strikethroughs, and italicized words with underlining. Unclear words, if reasonably certain, are italicized in angle brackets, e.g., <brackets>; completely unclear words are indicated with <illegible>. Words missing because of damage are indicated with bracketed ellipses, e.g., [. . . ]. Capitalization and punctuation are reproduced as written, with a few minor exceptions for end punctuation (e.g., dashes at the end of handwritten sentences are converted to the appropriate punctuation).
Because of staffing and funding constraints, we are reserving annotation only for the print edition.