Week Five Assignments, Readings, Exercises

Monday 9/29

  • Lab: Timemapper

Wednesday 10/1

  • Discussion: What does time visualization tell us about Linn?

Friday 10/3

  • Close reading module introduced
  • Transcription revised and re-compiled (using marked draft transcriptions)

Sunday 10/5

  • Blog post #3 “On Time” due (11pm)

Linn’s Diary


Linn’s Diary page 33

This is the first time I transcribe any documents. It is a good experience to see how difficult it is for people to transcribe and study old documents. Transcription is the way to efficiently study a person’s life. While transcribing a person’s work, especially diaries and unpublished works, we can dive into his/her stream of thoughts and understand them at a deeper level. All the informations written are this person’s thoughts and observations. It is interesting to see what is happening in their lives and how they choose to write down informations that seem crucial to them.

The process was very simple. I opened a page of the diary on one side and use TextEdit on one side. For every word that I can’t read, I put a question mark, [?]. In the beginning, most of the texts were question marks. As I read more and more of his hand writing, I started to recognize the letters and eventually the actual words.

Overall, transcribing Linn’s diary can be fun but frustrating at the same time. Many words have became obsolete and unable to read.

There are names on the page that is hard to read without any previous knowledge. Below is an example of such. This is the name of an artist of the London Illustrated News. I can make out that his name is Frank but I couldn’t read his last name.

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Frank [something]

There are days in the diary that are just extremely hard to read. We can tell that Linn was having a bad day when his writings are all over the place. In this part, he was talking about the harsh conditions of the troops. He mentioned people getting sick so perhaps Linn was also sick.

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Example of Linn’s absurd handwriting

Although his handwriting is hard to read, this is a lot easier to read compares to the documents I have seen from Bentham Project. Overall, this has been a fun experience to transcribe his diary. There are a lot to be learned from this. The everyday life of a civil war soldier is harsh. Living in terrible conditions in the midst of a war is not something we can fathom.

Diary 61 Reflection

This reflection will be about my experience transcribing entry 61 of James Merrill Linn’s diaries. This diary entry started with the continuation of Friday, April 18, 1862 and ended on Saturday, April 19. At the start, the transcribing process was very difficult because I was not familiar with his handwriting yet. But about halfway through it became a lot easier, and I really started to enjoy transcribing this diary entry. It was such an accomplishment to finally figure out a word after looking at it for a long time! Every time I got stuck I would put a question mark in the place of the word. Then, I went back through and tried to fill in all of the question marks. However I was still left with quite a few at the end.

There were phrases that I could nScreen shot 2014-09-14 at 4.28.13 PMot decipher at all without some help. This was one of them. I could not figure out the first word in this line for a while but then I thought it looked similar to “shortly”, but the “t” and “l” did not look right. The other word I could not get was the one after “was”. Going over the most difficult words in class really helped me. I showed the first word to another student who told me that it’s a name, “Shorkley”. And then it was brought to my attention in class that the other word is “adjutant”.

One other word that caused me trouble was the one after “canister”. I thought tScreen shot 2014-09-14 at 4.31.55 PMhe letters looked like “stuithing”, and even though I know that is not a word I still looked it up, hoping it was a common word in the 19th century. However it was not so I’m not sure what that word actually is or if it’s “stuithing” and had meaning to him and his family.

A very helpful part was when we met with Isabella O’Neill at the Bucknell Special Collections/University Archives room. Seeing my diary in person was not particularly beneficial, but rather some of the other archives she had. I asked Isabella to help me with some names I could not understand and she showed me a book of all of the Privates, Corporals, Sergeants, Lieutenants, etc. in Linn’s regimen, which was very useful in my transcribing process.