Teams and Participants

  • Each team is composed of no more than 10 members, to include 8 transcriber-reviewers and 2 editors. Editors can also serve as transcribers and reviewers. All team members should be listed on the team’s page. Participants may only belong to one team.
  • At least one of the two editors should also be designated as team captain. There may also be more than one captain.
  • Participants must sign up at least one day prior to the start of the competition, and be approved as a member by the team captain(s). Contact information can be found on each team page.
  • Teams may be built through solicitation or open call.
  • Each team must have at least one (virtual) participant meeting to establish standards and working methods. Successive meetings will be held at the discretion of the team leader(s).
  • Each page must be transcribed by one team member, reviewed by a second, and approved by one of the two editors before it is considered complete. Each team’s dated transcription log (linked on the team page) should be included with the final submission.

Competition Timing and Criteria

  • The competition will take place over the course of 2 weeks, from 12:00 PM UTC on Friday, September 25 until 12:00 UTC on Friday, October 9. Teams that complete their transcriptions before the stated deadline may submit their contributions when they are deemed complete.
  • Transcriptions will be judged by three criteria, in order of importance:
    1. Accuracy (see transcription guidelines below – these also appear on the transcription window);
    2. Speed;
    3. Team participation (those submissions that include participation from a greater percentage of team members will earn a higher ranking).
  • Only digital submissions are acceptable, and must include:
    1. A link to the transcription,
    2. A completed transcription log with names of transcribers, reviewers, and sign-off editors,
    3. A team page with at least 4 progress updates.
    4. A witness-specific transcription guideline (see below, and sample here).
  • All submissions should be sent to for delivery to the panel of judges.

Final Award

The three judges will include a team of subject-area experts. The decision of the judges is final. The award for victory is international bragging rights for time immemorial.

Transcription Guidelines

BNF fonds français, 2173 f. 19r

The following transcription guidelines will help teams as they begin to transcribe. However, once transcription work has begun on any particular manuscript, the individual norms of the scribe will come to dictate how the work should be transcribed. Therefore, each team should produce a transcription guideline for their manuscript with their final submissions. A sample transcription guideline can be found here:

  • Spelling: Use original spelling if possible.
  • Letter forms: Use modern letter forms (ie., long s to short s, u to v when applicable, I to J or J to I when applicable, ç to z when applicable etc.).
  • Capitalization: Use original capitalization if possible.
  • Punctuation: Use original punctuation if possible. Do not add apostrophes in cases of elision (d’amor, l'(h)ome, etc.). Insert hyphens when words break over a line.
  • Abbreviations: Expand all abbreviations, but do not mark them as such. Optional: Superscript and subscript may be marked using basic html.
  • Diacritics: Do not add modern accent marks.
  • Marginalia: When marginalia indicate a section break, place as an inline section head. When marginalia provide additional material, add the text to the bottom of the page and mark as [marginalia].
  • Images: Add brief image descriptions at the bottom of the page and mark as [image]. Transcribe all text in each image.
  • Line Breaks: Hit return once after each line ends. Two returns indicate a new paragraph, which is usually indentation following the preceding sentence in the original. The times at the end of each entry should get their own paragraph, since the software does not support indentation in the transcriptions.
  • Illegible text: Indicate illegible readings in single square brackets: [Dr?].


Contact Laura Morreale at or Ben Albritton at