Some examples of character-level transcription errors

(Also see the statement of principles which describes how EEBO texts are sampled and on what basis their error rates are calculated.)


One or more letters added to text.
sickness sicknes 1
my louers. my loues. 1
moistened moistned 1
Timne, Time, 1
One word substituted for another
all the vnderstand all that vnderstand 2
One or more words omitted from text
God's shall God's 't shall 2
A Street. The SCENE, A Street. 9
One or more letters omitted from text
to be the to bee the 1
Children, Children,) 1
presribe prescribe 1
aise arise 1
Discurse Discourse 1
Two letters transposed
Parmendies. Parmenides. 1
...mel|ioration...|lioration... 1
One character mistaken for another...
P.58 p.58 1
 NOTE: Case confusion: "p" in "p.58" should be captured as lower-case. Compare the clearly upper case "P"s in the same image.) ...leafe... 1
 NOTE: Clear "f" mistaken for long "s"
stockt flockt 2
 NOTE: compare the form of the true "st" ligature in "Ministers":
vis. viz. 1
Rea Rex 1
age. ago. 1
 NOTE: type is very small here, but word is clearly "ago" when magnified, not "age".
attiq; atti&abque; 1
 NOTE: Failure to identify special abbreviation symbol (-q;) for "-que".


Beside the clearly inexcusable and the clearly exusable errors, there are always a few occupying the middle ground. Here are a few examples with notes on how they were resolved.

inquiry iniquity  NOTE: edge clutter has almost drowned this word, but "iniq$$$y" can be read with fair confidence. The remainder should really have been left as "$" rather than guessed at. Two errors could have been assessed here (the missing "i" before the "q" and the mistake of "r" for "t" (or "$"). IN fact, both errors were treated as excusable because the shadow touching all the letters left some doubt as to their value.
askedly nakedly   NOTE: The "n" is broken and the "a" is slightly blotted but readable. $akedly would have been acceptable, but there is no justification for the reading "askedly"; compare the very different "as" that appears on the same line: . Treated as inexcusable.
sull full   NOTE: cross-stroke on "f" is somewhat shortened, almost to the point of resembling an "s". Treated as excusable.
multie aliis multis aliis   NOTE: the first "s" is only slightly less distinct than the second one, and really doesn't resemble an "e"; but it is blotted enough, and the type is small enough, that we let this pass as excusable, but doubtfully.


In most of the following cases, careful examination of the letter forms is enough to suggest that the capture was erroneous, but in most cases it is only the context that allows one to confirm that without question. Considered in isolation, these words cannot, we think, be read with certainty, and mistakes are therefore to be expected, and to be excused. E.g., in the first example, the bowl of the "e" is filled in and the back of it is curiously straight, so as to make it resemble a broken "t". The "m" was then read as "no" in order to make an intelligible word: in context, however, the word clearly must be "me," not "not. Similarly, defects of various other kinds make the other misreadings excusable, at least in our estimation.

not me
live love
hand land
fall full
to resti| to testi|
or will as will
auferrut. aufertur.
be speaks bespeaks
 NOTE: an example of "hypercorrection" of the spacing in the original. I.e., the print was spaced correctly, but was incorrectly "corrected" in capture. Such errors, since they depend on interpretation of the text, are always treated as excusable.
bed kindred had hindred
euen men


The following are examples of what seems to us to be accurate but interpretive transcription: cases in which the data is almost certainly correct in the sense that it probably captures what was printed in the original book--but in which the page image is defective enough that accurate capture can only have been accomplished by resort to the sense of the text, or so it seems. These are certainly not errors; in fact, we appreciate the boldness of this way of proceeding, and recognize that in many cases in which letter forms are indistinct, recognition of individual letters is (subconsciously or otherwise) dependent on prior recognition of the word in which it is placed. But we must point out that this method of proceeding also has risks: the more often one "guesses," the likelier it is that one will sometimes guess wrong and (more importantly) the likelier it is that the same kind of interpretative guesswork will be mistakenly applied even to perfectly clear words. In the latter case, of course, the result would be errors.