Tagging Guidelines

The records of the Vice Admiralty Court for the Province of New York are a collection of textual documents from 1685 to 1775 that concern maritime cases conducted by the British in colonial New York. Each document will be digitized in color and presented online in a Jpeg format. In addition to this, a transcription of each record will appear either alongside or linked in some way to the corresponding digital image.

The texts will be encoded in TEI P5 to provide a readable version of the 18th century documents as well as make them searchable for people, vessel name, geographic location, dates case occurred, type of ship (ex. sloop, brig, snow), and case type (ex. prize, salvage, customs, etc.). The transcriptions will be true representations of the text of the original document - misspelling and sentence structure will be preserved. The TEI encoded part of the document will allow for corrections or modern spellings of words to be search-able and viewable.

Some of the text to be tagged: Names of people, geographic locations, ship names, any laws mentioned, misspelled worlds, dates, ship type, and case type.


1. What are the significant informational features of the document that you want to represent in the digital site?

I would like to represent the type of case the document falls under (though this is not state explicitly within the document itself), the ship names, type of ship (ex. schooner, sloop, snow, etc.), names of people involved (witnesses, prosecutors, defendants, judges, captains, sailors), geographic locations, and any dates.

2. Who is the primary audience? Do they have special needs that will need to be represented?

Hopefully the project will appeal to different types of groups such as scholars, students, and the general public. An important part of the site will be transcription of the documents in order to allow users to access and understand the content, while still able to inspect the digitized originals. Encoding the transcriptions in TEI will be a major part of the site - allowing users to quickly search through the documents for subjects of interest.

3. What functions do you want to provide for your audience; what kinds of searching? What kinds of navigation?

Users would be able to search all the words tagged with TEI as well as the metadata applied to the corresponding digital object. Users will be able to navigate the site through a bar on the side which will allow them to jump from the different sections outlined in the previous website structure section.

4. What are the significant chunks or subdivisions of your document? How important do you consider most of this information to capture?

The significant chunks of the document would be the back, which relates the parties and title of the case the document is associated with, and then the body of the document which could be a narration or a list of questions and answers. Then the last part would be the signatures of those involved.

5. List as many as possible of your documents’ significant features that you would want to encode, and provide a justification for encoding these features. Think about audience, likely uses of the information, and the balance of cost and benefit.

I would perhaps encode the type of paper, size of paper, type of ink, and condition of the physicality depending on time and money available to put into this area of the project. This would primarily be of use to the scholarly community who may wish to know more about the composition of the object's physical features. A sample would be done on the site with a solicitation for feedback from the scholarly community if they find the information concerning physicality valuable or not.

6. What kinds of regularization of your document—if any—would be useful and appropriate? Would you regularize silently or preserve the original reading? Again, think about audience and probable use (including long-term use) of the data.

The transcription would be a faithful representation of the original - any errors that appeared in the original would be present in the transcription. The TEI encoding would enable me to provide the modernized spellings of words and correct any errors - this would make the document more searchable and therefore more usable.

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