Textual Devices

In transcribing book entries from manuscript sources, Jefferson’s check marks, backslashes, punctuation, symbols, and page markings have been transcribed, as far as is practicable, to reflect what is found in the primary source material. This includes Jefferson's cross-outs, deletions, misspellings, and slips of the pen.

There are currently, however, two exceptions, that users should take note of:

1. The backslashes preceding most titles in Jefferson's 1789 Catalog were omitted when this manuscript was first transcribed and are not currently rendered in the transcription. Some of these backslashes extend through several consecutive titles all at once, and present a unique challenge for us to reproduce on the Web. These backslashes may be incorporated into the transcription as we continue to enhance our database. For now, users should refer to the manuscript images for the 1789 Catalog to view these slash marks.

2. Jefferson often utilized braces in his manuscript book lists to group works together. When some of the manuscript lists were first transcribed in Microsoft Word (some even before the commencement of the Thomas Jefferson's Libraries project), these braces could not be rendered as they appear in the manuscript - this is true in the case of the March 1783 Library Reconstructed list, the 1789 and 1783 Catalogs, and the Retirement Library Catalogue. Now that the transcriptions for these four lists are in a web environment, we are in the process of making changes to these transcriptions to render these braces, as far as possible, as they appear in Jefferson's manuscript book lists.

Crossed-out and erased entries are included as separate list entries in the database. Cross-outs and erasures have been reproduced for display as far as modern typography on the Web will allow. Where symbols cannot be reproduced, the symbol is replaced in the transcription by a description of the symbol surrounded by brackets, for example, [livre tournois].

Textual devices have been employed as part of the editorial apparatus to indicate where erasures and cross-outs begin and end, or where illegibility has compromised transcription from the original manuscript.

Some partially erased or obscured works have been included in the interest of completeness and accuracy. There have been instances where list entries were erased and overwritten by newer entries. Wherever possible, these overwritten entries have been included as separate list entries as well. In this connection, we welcome comments and suggestions to improve the accuracy of our transcriptions, especially in cases where conjectural reading has been applied. See Contact Us.

The following devices are employed in the Thomas Jefferson’s Libraries project to clarify the presentation of the text:

[      ]
Where conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter has been applied, the transcribed entry is surrounded by brackets.

[     ?]
Where conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter has been applied to the transcribed entry, and such conjectural reading is doubtful.

[ . . . ]
Where one or more words are missing and not conjecturable, these are indicated by an ellipsis enclosed by brackets

Indicates discernible overwritten text

Indicates text written over erased text

[ ed. ] OR [sic--Ed.]
Editorial comment inserted in the transcription text

back to top