All of the transcription we have done in this unit has been very much a collaborative effort. From the very first transcription activity we did, there wouldn’t have been much progress made had we been working alone and isolated. More sets of eyes looking at a single line is one of the best ways to speed up the transcription process. A lot of words can be recognized with just a simple look-over, but some words are more challenging to interpret. The best method I’ve found for these words is to go through one character at a time and try to compare and transcribe each letter. Generally, these problematic words arise when the start or the end of a word are hard to read, so getting the other part and making an educated guess is also a valid strategy.
There were a number of advantages to working with the actual documents in the Bucknell Archives. The simple black and white scans we were using as the source of our transcriptions lost a lot of details that were in the original letters. For instance, one word that was giving me trouble in the scanned document was something that looked like it should have been ‘had,’ but had way too many lines to be those three letters. When I finally got to look at that part of the document in the archive, it became apparent that the word was indeed ‘had,’ but Linn had originally written ‘were’ there first, and changed the word to ‘had’ by writing over it. This intricacy was lost in the monochrome black scan we were originally working with. However, the processing that went into creating the digital scan did help to pull better information than the human eye could. It’s easy to see bleed-through on the physical document, which made some words harder to read. However, in the scan, this bleed-through was filtered out.
A lot of what Linn writes about in the March 2nd letter and journal entry are the same, the visit from Morris, learning of the occupation of Nashville, Memphis, and Savannah, etc. He even describes these events in nearly the exact same words in both the letter and the journal. However, in his journal, he noted that the instructions from Morris were against army orders. This is not something he notified his brother of. He also spent more time in his journal complaining about the little irritations of everyday life (poor weather, broken kitchen equipment). In his letter home, he spent more time discussing the state of the war and world overall, talking about US relations with the Rebels, England, and Mexico.