If You Can’t Transcribe

I have a digital copy of a court case from early 19th century Maryland that is 119 pages. There’s no way I’m ever going to get the entire thing transcribed. I just know that is not going to happen.

What I have done instead is to create a document where I can take notes on the court case–indicating what page something is on in the original PDF file I have that contains the whole case. I’m extracting names, dates, key elements in the document. Sometimes I extract a paragraph here or there or I type an entire page or two if there’s quite a bit of information or I want to include context. In these cases, I always use quotation marks to indicate what has been taken from the records verbatim instead of being my notes.

Every name is extracted as well.

Typing the information helps me to get some of it in my brain and later I will have the ability to search the text by keyword, name, and the like. I would like to transcribe the entire thing.

But that’s not always realistic and a file of my notes of what’s where in the document is better than nothing.