Storytellers Studio

Thoughts on Transcriptions

After being inspired by my newly-discovered cousin’s effort transcribing Georgiana’s diary, I’ve started moving forward with a long-neglected transcribing project of my own. My grandfather’s letters project is a fascinating project. His letters cover the five-year period (1908 – 1913) between the time he met my grandmother until they were married. During that period she was teaching at different schools in rural Georgia. My grandfather died in 1921 so a few photos and these letters are the only personal things we have to get to know him.

Once the transcription is done, I hope to add photos and notes on the people and places mentioned in the letters. At some point I would like to publish it in hope that it will benefit other cousins.

I am using the Ulysses writing platform [Mac – $44.99 and iOS – $24.99] to manage this project. Here’s why:

  • All writing content is stored as plain text using the Markdown standard. This “future-proofs” my transcriptions. Even when technology moves forward, these files will still be readable.
  • I can export some or all of the transcribed letters into a number of “publishing” formats. Ulysses exports to PDF, HTML, ePub, Word documents and RTF and even offers export styles to make the results look great.
  • Ulysses has apps for Mac, iPad and iPhone so I can work just about anywhere.
  • Because it is a writing “platform”, I can arrange and rearrange these letters any way I want. This will be very useful to include research notes and such.
Ulysses on iPad
The letter collection is slowly growing in Ulysses

Ulysses organizes content as sheets. Sheets can then be arranged into groups. There are several sorting options within a group: manually, by title, by creation date and by modification date. In the example above I have groups for each surname that currently has stories associated with it. Did you notice the tags in the sheet list (center column)? They can be used to create filters. The “Dolph’s Letters” group in the left column isn’t really a group, but a filter that pulls in anything tagged with the “Dolph’s Letters” tag.

From the editing screen, tap the paperclip icon to display the Attachments panel. Here’s where I add tags, notes and images associated with this sheet. The icons at the top of the panel are self-explanatory except for the circles one. That is the Goals element. It can track three types of goals: About, At Least or At Most. As you can see in this example, all these elements will appear in this one panel.

While tags added in the Attachments panel appears in the sheets list under the title and preview text, a paperclip icon appears to the left of the sheet’s title when there are notes or images attached to that sheet.

This project will take a log of time and effort, but thanks to Ulysses it will be easy to keep organized and on top of all the tasks that need to be done.

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