Editorial and Annotation Policy

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition approaches the documents with a light editorial hand in order to provide the most content with the least interference to the researcher. CWGK’s editorial work covers two broad types: textual editing and annotation research. Each step in the editorial process ensures that multiple editors have worked on every document to provide each document and each researched entity is as accurate as possible.


The first stage of work for CWGK is the transcription of original documents. This work goes through three editorial stages: 1) it is transcribed, 2) it is reviewed and marked up using a TEI compliant version of XML, and 3) two editors authenticate the transcription and coding before uploading the document to the site. Our tagging system includes page breaks, columns, and margin notes so the user can easily orient themselves within the document. We have tagged dates by day, month, and year, when discernable. These tags not only improve the readability of individual documents, but it also allows the each transcription to be keyword searchable, or filterable by date. Lastly, CWGK provides scanned images of each document with the transcription, allowing users to navigate either the reproduced image or the transcription in their own research.

CWGK is a digital publication in progress. In order to provide researchers, teachers, and students with access to products as early as possible, CWGK launched this site as Early Access in June 2016. The 10,000 transcriptions in the Early Access release were not authoritative. Each transcription will undergo an oral double proof where one CWGK editor reads from the digitized original document as another checks text and code. CWGK updates transcriptions as they are completed, an authoritative transcription replacing the Early Access version. True to CWGK’s commitment to delivering the latest and best access to its researchers, an automatic updating script means that newly proofed documents are published on the site every 24 hours. The editorial stage of each document is available at the bottom of each transcription.

As a general rule, the text is flush left. Other elements of the original document’s layout have been reflected in the transcriptions. Text with multiple columns are rendered as such in the transcription for the sake of readability. Other types of formatting, such as underlined, italicized, and bold text also appear on the screen. Page-spanning lines that indicate a section break in the original are rendered as horizontal rules.

If a word is uncertain, it will be wrapped in square brackets, [Governor]. When a word cannot be deciphered, it will be marked as unclear by an ellipses appearing in square brackets [ . . .]. When gaps appear in the text, often when a date or portion of a name are left to be filled in later, the space on the page will be noted by empty square brackets [ ].

Notes are easily identifiable by being set off in angle brackets. These notes are placed as closely as possible to where they are located on the page. For text that appears in the margins, a double angle bracket will appear to indicate the left or right margin. For example, text in the left margin will appear as follows: <<left margin>, and text in the right margin will be depicted <right margin>>.

We indicate stamps, seals, and postmarks by using curly brackets. The presence of one of these features will be noted by the type of feature in italics wrapped in brackets: { Seal }. Text present and legible will appear wrapped within brackets: { Frankfort }.


After completing the transcription work for a document, CWGK staff then conduct research on every entity—person, organization, place, and geographical feature mentioned in each of its documents. A staff member (either a CWGK staff member or Graduate Research Associate) tags the first mention of each entity, whether referred to directly by proper name or indirectly through a title, nickname, or pronoun. That first mention in each document will be hyperlinked to the entity’s biography page. Biographies are also keyword searchable through the CWGK search bar.

In addition to the biography, CWGK has generated social network diagrams for people and organizations. These diagrams codify types of relationships between entities as well as filtering them through the documents in which the relationships occur. CWGK has only tagged relationships which appear linked through its documents, meaning that the networks generated by CWGK reflect the relationships discoverable through the world of CWGK documents. As more documents are accessioned and annotated, of course, these networks will grow in size and complexity. As the user hovers a cursor over the nodes of the network, a capsule biography and a link to that entity’s full biography page appears, allowing the user to explore connections between entities easily.

As with updating authoritative transcriptions, this site will automatically publish newly annotated and fact-checked documents every 24 hours, giving users the latest access to a growing network of historical actors.

Each entity type has different information recorded within its biography. People are, understandably, the most complex. For CWGK, people are historical individuals, living or dead before December 31, 1865. Biographical information will be current through the end of 1865, only extending beyond that date when a term of office or employment that began before then continues into 1866 or beyond. Birth and death dates, if known, are recorded in metadata fields. Gender is also a metadata category. Race description is also logged. CWGK has let the historical record guide race description, which allows researchers to explore the biographical corpus within the familiar conventions of the nineteenth century. CWGK editors have the option to assign multiple race descriptions to an individual if historical records describe their race differently over time.

Where possible, CWGK has recorded place of birth, names of parents, information about marriage and children, education, and a career summary for each individual. Of course, our knowledge varies widely between individuals. CWGK has settled on formulaic statements of fact that record occupation, employer, location, and known date range for each documentable point in an individual’s life.

Organizational entries record the type of organization, its principal owners or partners (if applicable), the location where it operated, and the dates of operation, if known. Examples of common organizations include administrative elements of government (courts, agencies), military units, businesses, and churches.

Places are officially established towns, counties, states, territories, and countries. Towns within the United States must have had a post office during the 1860-1865 scope of CWGK to qualify for an entry. Names and boundaries will reflect contemporaneous usage (1860 Kentucky county boundaries, for example). A place located within a state that is created during the scope of CWGK, such as West Virginia, will be titled under its final organization but its original affiliation will be noted in the biography. All seceding states are understood to have remained in the United States. Cultural regions such as “the South” or “Appalachia” will not be identified. Plantation names, battlefield areas not defined by a specific town, and well-known local crossroads are tagged to the lowest identifiable place entity, usually a county. Places are identified with coordinates, and the biographies contain information about how they nest in place hierarchies (for example, noting that a town is the seat of a given county or that the capital of a state is in a certain city). Coordinates for counties, states, and countries are assigned to their seat of government. If the place lies along a tagged geographical feature, usually a river, it is mentioned in the entity text.

Geographical features are rivers and mountain ranges which extend beyond or do not conform to the political boundaries used to define places. Latitude and longitude is not assigned to these features. Creeks, individual mountains, and other local features will not be annotated using this item type. Use of geographical features will be limited to major rivers (Cumberland River, Ohio River) and mountain ranges (Rocky Mountains, Allegheny Mountains) and can be used to group places found along or within the geographical feature. In such a case, searching entities for the Ohio River feature will allow the user to call up all cities, counties, and states along the river.