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Thoughts and comments on proofreading handwritten documents.

Proofreading and transcribing handwritten text, rather than printed text, can be difficult and not as standardised as print. The proofreading user may have to use their judgement in how best to represent the text on Wikisource. Any decisions should be applied uniformly across one work but they do not have to match the transcription decisions used on any other work on Wikisource. The notes parameter of the header template can be used to explain how handwriting is being represented.


Sometimes handwritten text is not clear enough to be legible. If this problem does occur, try to proofread as much of the text as possible and insert {{illegible}} templates wherever it cannot be read. In the future, someone else may be able to make out the illegible words and replace a template with the correct text.


Handwritten text is more likely to contain manual corrections, with words crossed out and additional text inserted around the main body.

Where a word has been deleted, either ruled through or scribbled out, the {{strikethrough}} template can be used to represent this.

Additional text can be shown with either {{sup}} (which reduces the font), {{raised text}} (which maintains the same font-size), or {{dual line}} (which creates two lines of text, one above the other, with the rest of the text).

If text has been completed erased or blacked out, the {{redact}} template can be used to show this.

These templates can be combined in different ways:

Lorem ipsum dolor {{strikethrough|eget}} sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor eget sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor {{raised text|sit amet}}, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor {{dual line|sit amet|^|style=vertical-align:baseline;}}, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor {{dual line|sit amet|{{strikethrough|eget sit amet}}|style=vertical-align:baseline;}}, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
eget sit amet
, consectetuer adipiscing elit.

Non-linear text[edit]

A handwritten document does not have to conform to the structure created by a printing press, typewriter or most word processors. Text can be written off to one side, as a note in the margin (or footer or header), sideways or at an angle.

Templates can be used to place the text out of the normal flow in some way. The templates {{outside L}} and {{outside RL}} are intended for sidenotes and can display the to one side of the body. Block templates, eg. {{block left}}, {{block center}} and {{block right}}, can change the position of the text on the screen. These templates interupt the rest of the text; if you want the main text to wrap around the addition, {{float left}} and {{float right}} may help. Other options include treating the additional text as a footnote.

For pencil additions, use {{greyed}}. To copy text written at an angle, use {{rotate}}, eg. {{rotate|-10|this text}} produces this text.

Use of cursive fonts[edit]

Wikisource has the ability to render cursive fonts, by means of the templates {{cursive}} and {{cursive block}}. However, this does not mean all handwritten text should be displayed in a cursive font! Most of the time, handwritten text should be transcribed as normal text, using the default fonts specified by the Wikisource interface and the reader's browser.

The cursive font templates are intended for use where a part of a text is handwritten, where the contrast between typed and handwritten content is important. For example, some documents are published with blank spaces for information to be written in afterwards, such as a date or a signature block (the signature itself can be rendered with a cursive font template or an image, as appropriate). In these cases, {{cursive}} or {{cursive block}} can be used for the handwritten portions of the document.