Making Sense of Victorian Handwriting On-line Course

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Event description
This course uses palaeography techniques to concentrate on reading 19th and early 20th century handwritten documents

About this event

Are you finding cataloguing Victorian collections difficult because of the handwriting? This introduction to palaeography – literally “old writing” in Greek –concentrates on reading nineteenth and early twentieth century documents and is designed to help. It begins with a presentation on the techniques to use in deciphering unfamiliar handwriting which is illustrated with worked examples. This is followed by a calligraphy exercise which will help you to begin to recognise 19th century letter forms. The rest of the course provides facilitated practical transcription exercises enabling you to develop your palaeographic skills. Participants are invited to provide in advance of the course copies of documents from their collections that they cannot read so that they can be incorporated into the exercises.

This training course is aimed at anyone working with archives with little or no knowledge of palaeography. It will also be of interest to those who want a refresher course to familiarise themselves with nineteenth and early twentieth century handwriting.

The course was created by Janet Foster and Margaret Crockett, Directors of the Archive-Skills Consultancy. It is based on previous bespoke palaeography courses and on their own experience of managing nineteenth and early twentieth century century archives. In response to the Covid 19 pandemic the course has been developed for online delivery via Zoom.

The course fee includes a workbook which provides all the information for completing the exercises on the day. Anyone registered for the course will need to have the Zoom App. The link to the Zoom session, together with the handbook and other handouts, will be sent to participants via email two days before the course.


Time Session

9.30-10.00 Introductions & self-assessment exercise

10.00-10.45 Palaeography: a skill not a theory presentation

10.45-11.30 Calligraphy exercise: tracing an example of 19th century handwriting

11.30-11.45 Coffee

11.45-1.00 Palaeography exercise using a transcription

1.00-1.45 Lunch

1.45-2.45 Assisted transcription exercise: group work

2.45-3.00 Break

3.00-3.45 Unassisted transcription exercise: group work

3.45-4.00 Self-assessment & feedback on unassisted exercise

4.00-4.30 Planning strategies and next steps – discussion


Learning outcomes

At the end of this course participants will be able to:

• Use techniques for reading unfamiliar handwriting

• Read and transcribe nineteenth and early twentieth century documents

• Create a transcription self-help checklist

• Use transcription conventions

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Organiser the Archive-Skills Consultancy

Organiser of Making Sense of Victorian Handwriting On-line Course

The Archive-Skills Consultancy Ltd (TASC) is an SME offering training and projects in archives and records management. It began with an informal partnership between Janet Foster and Margaret Crockett in 1991 when they decided to develop the first "Basic Archive Skills Training Day". This has now expanded to a range of off-the-shelf and tailored training courses for people working in the field who are unable to access longer-term education in archives and records nanagement. Margaret and Janet began to take on consultancy projects together from 2001, setting up the limited company in 2008. Since 2001 they have completed numerous assignments in the UK and abroad which have involved scoping and auditing archives management needs and solutions, delivering solutions for archives and surveying, developing systems and setting up records management programmes.

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