Re: Are conductor's lists of interest?

Dave Nelson

WRT transcription:  in my own experience of transcribing train reports I have used Excel… rows for each entry, columns for the different data.  I have found it is very important to first transcribe what is written on the page and only afterwards to add additional columns to add my own interpretation of what was meant.  So if the conductor wrote UTL I have a column for his car initials and it it is UTL.  Next to it will be my own column of UTLX.  Same for lading and any reference to pickup or destination city.


The reason for doing that is there is always written data that is hard to make out... it’s easy to guess wrong so don’t rush it.  Recording it AS IS lets you skip the hard part of figuring it out until such time you’ve seen a whole lot of his hand writing.  Perhaps his capital Q looks like a 2 – that was proper cursive back in the day – or perhaps he always uses shorthand for one road that you don’t initially recognize… or the most common: Some obscure private road initials that are not in your ORER but are darn similar to ones that are. Let it all wait until the nasty part of transcription is over and you can look at the larger set of data in the spreadsheet.


Letting it all wait for later gives you the opportunity to ask around… to compare various letters on several pages, etc. etc.  When you are sure what he meant then it all goes down in the column NEXT to the original transcriptions.  If you sort the rows you can fill those columns with ease.  This also lets you find and change stuff later on it if becomes clear you goofed.  And when you share your work it’s easy for others to see your interpretation of what you saw on the page.


IOW, think like an archeologist: First collect.  When that is done, then carefully study and draw your conclusions.


Also… don’t concatenate stuff and use individual columns for different data.  Car initials and car numbers are two different things each belonging it its own column. Corporate name is different data from car initial (e.g., Union Pacific and the car initials OSL are two different pieces of information).  Keeping things in their own columns makes it easy it both easy to sort and for others to make their own choices of what to keep.


Dave Nelson



Join to automatically receive all group messages.