Guide to Viewing Original Manuscripts and Literal Transcriptions Side by Side
Types of Available Transcriptions
The image below shows an original manuscript document to the left and a literal transcription beside it on the right. Literal transcriptions follow line lengths, formatting, columns, abbreviations, and mirror the original manuscript as closely as possible. Literal transcriptions on this site are produced by our amazing team of NEHH volunteers, carefully following editorial guidelines under the supervision of the Director of Transcription.
Literal transcriptions are beneficial to scholars and are easy to read. The literal transcriptions are not searchable within the digital archive.
The unformatted transcriptions are fully searchable. These unformatted transcriptions are the exact text of the original documents and of the literal transcriptions, but lack much of the formatting, such as strikethroughs, and some of the special characters found within the literal transcriptions. The unformatted transcriptions will appear to the right of the original manuscript documents as shown in the below image. The unformatted transcriptions are fully searchable, may be read by screen readers, and allow for a quick understanding of the original text of the manuscript document.
Using Literal Transcriptions in Conjunction with the Original Document
While the unformatted transcription may be natively viewed side by side with the original document, depending on your needs it may be necessary to view the literal transcription and the original document together. Unfortunately this cannot be accomplished natively within the digital archive. However, functionality akin to this may be accomplished by simply having two browser windows open side by side.
When a document has an associated literal transcription, a link to that transcription will appear both in the "Summary" pane to the right to the viewer and below the viewer in the "Resource Details" pane. The link will appear underneath the metadata field "View Literal Transcription". The link will appear as the title of the transcription within a grey bubble. Right click, on windows operating systems, or control button + click on Mac devices, the transcription title and a menu will open up in your browser. In that menu should be multiple options for how to open the link. Click "Open Link in New Window". This ensures that you now have the original document and the literal transcription open in two different windows which may be further manipulated to have the original document and literal transcription side by side.
To make the two windows, one containing the original document and the other containing the literal transcription, side by side, you can manually resize the windows by clicking and dragging at the edges of the window with your cursor. However, both Windows and Mac operating systems provide additional shortcuts to speed up and automate the process of splitting your screen between two (or more) windows.
In Windows operating systems, dragging a window to the left or right side of the screen will automatically resize the window to fill up that half of the screen. In Windows 10, and later, this will automatically bring up the "Snap Assist" menu to resize a second window to fill up the other half of the screen; simply click on the window you wish to fill in the second half of the screen. In earlier versions of Windows, both windows may need to be dragged to their respective sides of your screen. CNET has an article on using Snap Assist in Windows 10.
The split screen feature in Mac devices is similarly easy to engage. At the upper left of windows in Mac are three buttons, one of which will be green. Click and hold the green button. The window will get a bit smaller at which point you can stop clicking. The window will then move to the left half of the screen. On the right half of the screen will be your other open windows. Click on the one you wish to have opened in the other half of the screen. CNET has an article on using the Split Screen feature in MacOS Monterey.
With the two browser windows now side by side, you may browse and view the original document and the literal transcription at the same time.
Welcome to the Digital Archive for the Congregational Library & Archives. With over 100,000 images across more than 4,000 items, our ever growing digital collections include materials from all across New England spanning the 17th century to the 21st century. Inside you'll find manuscript sermons, vital church records, church disciplinary records, minister diaries, the documented religious experiences of everyday Congregationalists across time, and so much more. Use the above search bar to begin your research journey, or use the below navigation buttons to browse our manuscript collections, see our digital exhibits, learn about our digital projects, or read some of our user guides.