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FIU Digital Project Guidelines and Help Materials

The internal standard operating procedures for FIU Libraries' digital collections


  • Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1 inch margins
  • Insert the following header, which should appear on each page.
    • Interviewee: Roberta Peacock
    • Interviewer: Paul Ortiz
    • Date: July 11, 2006
    • FIU IRB Number: 16-0365
  • The paragraph format should be a “hanging” indent.
  • Initials of Interviewer and interviewee should be used throughout the document.
  • Here is how the document should look:



  • When speech on a recording is inaudible, try playing it at higher volume and/or slower or faster speed. If the interviewer works for SPOHP, ask her or him for help!
  • If you can make an educated guess, type the closest possible approximation of what you hear and bold it the first time it appears. If you can, Google your approximation to try to verify your guess (usually for names or place names). I went to school in Maryville.
  • Jane Krackow used to be the department head in English.
  • If you cannot make a guess as to what is said, note “inaudible” and the time elapsed in brackets.
    • We’d take our cotton to Mr. [inaudible 33:07] gin in Cameron.


  • Use brackets to around anything the transcriber adds to the document.
    ·a pause in recording, when recording is turned off and then on again, when sound
  • fades out, et cetera:
  • [Break in recording]
  • ·the end of the interview: [End of interview]
  • ·Descriptive terms:
  • [Laughter] [Crying] [Telephone Rings]


  • Do not change improper grammar said by the speaker.
  • It is okay to leave the following as is:
    • Kinda, Gonna, wanna, fella, double negatives
    • For example, I ain’t never been in that kinda situation before.


  • Instances to use the dash (—)
    • an interruption by another speaker
      • P: I am from a small town near– O: What is the name of the town? P: Gainesville.
    • before and after someone interrupts himself
      • D: That was back in July—no, wait, it was August—of 1960.


  • Use the ellipses ( . . . ) when the speaker trails off resulting in a long pause. The ellipses consists of three periods, each separated by a space, and separated from the word it follows by a space.

o   Correct:

§  B: That was a long time ago, but . . .

A:  What were you going to say?

B:  I can’t really remember that well because it was so long ago.


  • Too many interruptions in the flow of a speaker’s remarks with feedback (such as um- hm and yeah) is not necessary unless those words are used to answer a direct question.

o   Incorrect:

§  S: That was the craziest thing I ever heard!
D: Uh-huh. (D’s response is NOT necessary in the final transcript, so it should be omitted).

o   Correct:

§  S: That was the craziest thing I ever heard! Don’t you think so?
D: Uh-huh. (In this care D’s response is necessary in the final transcript, so it should be left in.)


  • If the speaker is constantly using filler words like “you know,” or “uh,” in speech, these can be omitted.

o   Incorrect:

§  K: You know, I never thought about it that way, but, you know, I can see how, you know, some people might do that.

o   Correct:

§  K: I never thought about it that way, but I can see how some people might do that.


  • Write full dates as follows: January 1, 2003
  • If the speaker omits the century and just says the decade, write out the full year with the omitted numbers in brackets: [19]67 not ’67; The [19]50s, not the fifties *note no apostrophe before the “s” The mid-[19]50s, not the mid-fifties
  • Always use numerals for years, even at the beginning of a sentence. 1962 was an important year for me.
  • Use numerals for days when they include the month and the year; follow this form even when the speaker says, “August the fifth, nineteen eighty-seven.” Instead write August 5, 1987.
  • Spell out the words for the day when the year is not expressed and the speaker uses the ordinal number:

o   My birthday is August fifth.

o   My birthday is August the fifth.

  • Spell out the word for the day when the day precedes the month: the fifth of August


  • In general, avoid abbreviation in oral history transcripts.
  • Do not abbreviate:

o   A civil or military title unless appearing immediately before a person’s full name: Governor Perry, but Gov. Rick Perry

o   names of countries, territories, provinces, states, or counties

o   doctor when used without an accompanying name: (The doctor said, but Dr. Smith said)

o   Senator, Judge, Bishop, General, Professor or any other political, academic, civic, judicial, religious, or military title when it is used alone or when it precedes a surname alone, i.e., Judge McCall

o   the Reverend or the Honorable, when the is part of the title preceding the name

o   books of the Bible

o   names of the months and days

o   terms of dimension, measurement, weight, degree, depth, et cetera: inch, foot, mile.

o   part of a book: Chapter 3, Section A, Table 7

o   word elements of addresses: Avenue, Building, North, South, except NW, NE, SE, and SW

o   portions of company names, unless the actual company name uses an abbreviation:  Brother, Brothers, Company, Corporation, Incorporated, Limited, Railroad

o   Senior or Junior when following partial names: Mr. Miller, Junior Mr. Toland, Senior

  • Do abbreviate

o   the following when they precede a given name and/or initial(s) plus surname: Ms. Rev. Mr. Mrs. Dr.

o   Jr. or Sr. after given name and/or initial(s) plus surname: John H. Smith Jr. (note that the comma is no longer required around Jr. and Sr.)

o   NE, NW, SE, SW in addresses given in text (note no periods)

o   points of the compass: N, E, S, W, NE, SE, NNW, WSW, et cetera ·era designations: AD 70, 753 BC

o   time designations a.m., p.m.

o   Agencies and various types of organizations are referred to by acronyms or using an abbreviation from an organization’s initials:


  • As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, do not capitalize. Check with Chicago Manual of Style or the dictionary to check if it should be capitalized. Proper names of institutions, organizations, persons, places, and things follow standard English practice. Partial names of institutions, organizations, or places are usually written in lower case.
  • Do capitalize:

o   names of particular persons, places, organizations, historical time periods, historical events

o   Biblical events and concepts, movements, calendar terms referring to specific days, and months.

o   titles of creative works

o   references to athletic, national, political, regional, religious, and social groups: Florida Gators, Congress, Democrats, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Masons


  • Italics should be used sparingly, and they are typically only used when referring to a title of a work.
  • Italicize:

o   titles of whole published works, such as Plain Speaking

o   titles of books, bulletins, periodicals, pamphlets

o   newspaper names and the city names that accompany them:
New York Times Note: do not italicize any articles preceding a newspaper name. Example: the Times.

o   titles of long poems

o   titles of plays and motion pictures/movies/films

o   titles of long musical compositions: operas, musical comedies, oratorios, ballets, tone poems, concertos, sonatas, symphonies, and suites

o   titles of paintings, sculptures, drawings, mobiles: You may know that da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is actually La Gioconda.

o   Italicize titles of legal cases, with v. for versus: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas; the Miranda case

o   names of spacecraft, aircraft, and ships, except for abbreviations preceding the names, such as designations of class or manufacture, as follows: SS Olympic HMS Queen Elizabeth USS Lexington Friendship VII

o   a foreign word or phrase when followed by a translation; enclose translation in quotation marks and precede translation by a comma: J’ai mal à la tête, “I have a headache.”


  • In general, spell out whole numbers, whether cardinal or ordinal, from one to ninety-nine, and any of those numbers followed by hundred, thousand, hundred thousand, million, and so on, hyphenated or not. sixty-nine; seventy-fifth; twenty-two hundred, but 2,367.
  • Note: When there are several numbers in a sentence or a group of numbers includes numbers over one hundred, you may use numerals for brevity and consistency. 
  • Always spell out the number if it is the first word in a sentence.
    • A:  How old are you?
    • B:  Fifty years old.
    • §  Exception: If the year is the first word in a sentence, do not spell it out.
    • ·      A: When were you born? B: 1906.
  • Spell out the number if it is the name of a street and under one hundred. 454 Fourth Street
  • For percentages, use numerals and spell out “percent.” Only 45 percent of board members approved of the measure.
  • Do not spell out:
    • street address numbers, highway numbers: 10 Downing Street 304 Carroll Library IH35
    • telephone numbers


  • mark [End of interview]
  • sign the document. It should look like this:
    • [End of interview]
    • Transcribed by: Your Name, date completed