1) May I download images from the digital archive?

Unfortunately, images are not yet available for download directly from our digital archive. We expect this feature to become available with a planned future update to Quartex. A date for this planned update is not yet available. In the meantime, if you are in need of a copy of images in our digital collections, please email us at info@14beacon.org.

2) How may I view original documents and literal transcriptions side by side?

Unfortunately, there is no way to natively view the original document and the literal transcription side by side in the same browser window using the system's native image viewer. However, there are simple workarounds which will help your viewing experience. For more information on transcription and how you may view original documents and literal transcription side by side, please read our Guide to Viewing Transcription.

3) What is metadata?

The dictionary definition for metadata is “data that provides information about other data” or put more simply “data about data.” In the context of libraries and archives, metadata is information about a resource, be it a book, manuscript, or collection, that describes and contextualizes the resource so that people may discover, find, and know about the resource.

4) What do all of the various metadata fields mean?

Each digital object contains a wealth of metadata across numerous metadata fields. More information on what every metadata field means may be found in our Guide to Viewing Documents.

5) What is the difference between Subject terms and Genre/Form terms?

Within our metadata are two categories of metadata which, on first glance, might seem very similar to one another. However, Subject terms and Genre/Form terms describe distinct aspects of the digital object. Subject terms, drawn from the Library of Congress Subject Headings list, describe the content of an item and/or capture the essence of the topic of a document. Some examples of subject terms include "Autobiographies", "Church attendance", or "Reformation". Genre/Form terms, drawn from the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms list, describe what an item is or what category of literary composition a document belongs to. Some examples of genre/form terms include "Account books", "Contracts", or "Vital statistics".

6) What is the IIIF Viewer?

Below the image viewer on every record is the logo for the International Image Interoperability Framework in blue and red and a "Viewer" button to the right of the logo. The IIIF (spoken aloud as "triple-eye-eff") is an international standard for image viewers that promises greater interoperability for digital holdings held by different institutions. Clicking the IIIF logo will bring you to the IIIF website. Clicking the viewer button will bring you to an IIIF compatible Mirador viewer for the digital object.

The IIIF compatible Mirador viewer provides additional tools to view and manipulate digital objects. Most powerful is its ability to compare two different digital objects side by side, even if the digital objects are from completely different digital repositories. The IIIF viewer is considered an advanced feature and we do not recommend its use for general viewing purposes.

7) What does the "Manifest" button do?

The manifest is a piece of computer code which can be used by computer systems as part of the IIIF viewer. Clicking the button will open a new browser tab and the manifest code will be displayed. How that code will be displayed will depend on which browser you are using.

For general users of the digital archive, the manifest button will have no practical purpose.

8) What are controlled vocabularies?

Controlled vocabularies are collections of terms and phrases which are used to describe digital objects and link together similar and/or related documents. Controlled vocabularies are used extensively as part of our metadata. Every controlled vocabulary term will be surrounded by a light gray bubble. When you click a controlled vocabulary term, the system will run a search whose results include all items which contain that controlled vocabulary term in their metadata. Controlled vocabularies are also an important tool for further refining searches using filters.

9) What is faceted searching?

Faceted searching allows you to augment, refine, and change the parameters of a search on the fly without starting a new search. Facets and filters can be applied to any search results or when browsing by using the left-hand "Filter results" menu. For more information on how to use facets and filters, please read our Guide to Refining a Search.

10) Why does transcription in the transcript pane not reflect any special formatting?

Transcriptions, as they appear in the transcript pane, beside the original document, are unformatted "raw" text. This means that any special formatting, such as strikethroughs and superscripts, and some special characters, will not appear in the unformatted transcription. The use of unformatted text is to ensure that the text of the transcription is properly machine-readable to best support searching within the text. For more information of viewing transcriptions, please read our Guide to Viewing Transcription.