Talk:World Archives Project: United States, African American Newspapers, 1823-1915

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Feel free to add to or edit information in this discussion tab as necessary. Please take time to become familiar with the General Keying Standards and be sure to read all instructions on the main project page. (Please note that in case of a discrepancy, project level instructions always trump general keying standards.)

Extra Keying Helps

Common Keying Errors Found by Reviewers

I'm entering records where the paper is dated July 29, 1827 yet I came across some political thing that is dated for 1888! How do I put this date in there? It's only 1827.

Questions and Answers

My data set is a spread to two consecutive newspaper pages, of seven columns each.  The column numbers for the left (first) page are obviously 1 through 7.  For the right-hand (second page), is the column progression again 1 through 7, or 8 through 14?

Not an official answer, but having a similar image, I'm starting a second section and numbering from column 1. In my case, I have last and first pages of different issues of the paper, so the Header changes, which seems to justify (or even require) doing this. (Chrisdoran1)

After contacting WAP, the answer for this was as follows: A new section would only be used if it is a different newspaper. Otherwise, just key it all together. Per Daniel Therefore, I would number 1 through 14. (pgift1977)

If you have a keying question that is not answered on the project page or in any of the information above, click “EDIT” and ask it here. (If you click on Rich Editor you won't have to worry about formatting your entry.) Then click “WATCH” at the top right on this page and you will be notified via email when an update has been made.

Here are some questions and points that I have gathered from the Recent African American posts. They are just my interpretation of what everyone has been saying in the posts and some answers from Wap. So feel free to edit and add points (bsp1928).


I've found a page with a list of the editors in a column. They're not part of an article, so should they be entered?  I'd appreciate any advice.

I always enter them but I have noticed in Review quite a few people leave them out. They are names just like any other and the box with their names is not an advert - bsp1928


What do we do with a newspaper that has no title, date or location?

This happens on quite a lot of pages. Just leave the boxes at the top blank.

Sometimes you can find the publication title and date in one of the columns on the page.


There are some pages written in French or Creole. Index these in the usual way if possible.

Otherwise just pick. "I don't want to finish this set"

DO NOT mark as a cover page or image with No data.


If a city/town as well as county and/or state are all listed, which goes in residence and does one of the other go to location?

Residence is where the person lived. Location is where the event took place. If the Residence was listed as "Cleveland, Ohio" then key as "Cleveland, Ohio". That is, ‘Key as seen’ and use the comma as a separator.


Where the officers are listed it often includes their initials and abbreviations of their positions. e.g. G. M., R. S. Jones

There is usually a comma between the sets of letters. So in the above case we enter R S Jones

G M stands for grand master or something like that. Do not use the position letters as a Prefix unless it is in the Prefix list – often it is only a guess what they mean.


What do we do about Chairman, Vice President etc?

It is best to be guided by the drop down entries for both Suffix and Prefix – these give the obvious ones such as the prefix ‘Dr’ or ‘Rev’ or suffixes that are degrees such as DD or PhD.


Where the Residence or Event Location is not completely spelled out, e.g., 'Portland Or' do not complete it - key as seen.

However, in the Header field for Publication State, expand an abbreviated state name to the full name.

(This leaves in question whether or not to expand abbreviated or shortened city names in the Publication Location field in the Header. The Field Help says to use the drop-down list "for assistance" but does not explicitly say that such assistance does or does not include expanding a shortened city name. A logical consistency would be to expand city names just as we do state names IN THE HEADER ONLY, but I would like some WAP clarification here, please, just to be sure I understand.)

How should locations be keyed?
There is such a direction for the Publication State (this is in the HEADER only)
Publication state

--Paulmd199 18:13, 20 April 2011 (UTC)


Where there are lists of people at a Wedding or Funeral the same Event location should apply to everyone. At a Wedding,for example, use 'Marriage' as the Event type for the couple but 'Other' for everyone else.


Where there are several different versions of a name in an article e.g. 'Dr Wilson', 'Wilson', 'Dr John Wilson'. Key the name once and use the fullest version of the name


There are often notices about local associations or groups that give the list of officers. These are not adverts and should be keyed. Do key the names of all the individuals listed - in the usual way.


These are the ones advertising domestic items to sell, or rooms to rent etc, or saying how useful xyz product was. Sometimes they look a bit like news articles – but it is usually easy to spot them.

These are all advertisements.


For Mr and Mrs Fred Jones. Key an entry for each person.

Where it says something like Mr Fred Jones and Wife – do not include an entry for Wife. In this case the name of the wife is not mentioned.

For an entry like Messrs John Smith, Andrew Jackson, and Adam Johnson. Key an entry for each person. Mr John Smith, Mr Andrew Jackson ...

"Mesdames" indicates a group of married women, and should be keyed "Mrs" for each name. (--Collier smith 04:24, 10 January 2012 (UTC))

Here are some more points taken from Recent posts (bsp1928)

The general view is that where someone is mentioned on a ship put the ship name in the EVENT LOCATION


Sometimes there is just a surname with no other information. Not much use perhaps. But the rule is to key the name. WAP have made clear that the main objective is to index the newspapers via names.


There are some of these, such as lists of supporters of a bill, guests at a wedding etc. Bad luck! we have to key them


Sometimes what looks like the same name appears in several articles. e.g. A local minister officiating at several events. e.g. Rev John W G Smith. Obviously with a distinctive name it is probably the same person. BUT the rule is to key the name once for each article (as it appears in each article). We are otherwise making too much of an assumption.


Sometimes well known historical figures e.g. 'Napoleon', 'Abraham Lincoln' appear. The rule is to key them as usual. With very ancient names where they clearly refer to the ancient person e.g. 'Socrates' it is probably not worth keying them.


Several people have come across these. The rule is to key the names as usual. We just don't have enough information to judge whether they refer to real people or not.

          What about items that are obviously jokes? I have seen many of these, mostly as fillers at the bottoms of columns. The names are

          seldom complete -- just "Mr Jones" or "Aunt Sue" or "Fred". Surely these cannot be mistaken for real people and thus should not be

          keyed, right?


The general rule (see above) is that we key names from notices about local associations or groups that give the list of officers.

Some of these are not clear cut. For example those advertising tickets for an event.They are often headed something like 'Chrismas Ball for the XYZ organization' then some details and often a list of officers of the society or group.

Most people key these if they clearly contain a list of members of a local organisation.

= "Titles and Coulmns" - How do I record these?

Q: I need to Key in “The Earl of Spencer” “Viscount Althorp” “Prince of Wales” and “The King”. No other names have been given would I put all these titles (in their complete form) in the PREFIX section? Also I have 3 coulmns in the newspaper. However Coulmn 2 is after the first article split in two again how would I record this? 1, 2, 3, 4 or 1, 2, 2.1, 2.2, 3? Thank you for your help