Notes for Contributors

Notes for Contributors
The Cornhill in 1902. Note the scaffolding around the new vestry on St Mary’s Church.

Submitting Material

We are keen to publish on almost all aspects of Bridgwater’s history and additions to this website are very welcome. Contributors can be anyone from any background, and any skill level, professional or amateur. You can be a historian, genealogist, archaeologist, or just a keen enthusiast. The website aims to cover all aspects of the towns history. Areas we would like more on include, but are not limited to:

  • Articles on aspects of the town’s history, inhabitants, archaeology, businesses, institutions or buildings.
  • The publication of digitised texts or transcribed records relating to the town, its inhabitants, businesses, buildings and institutions.
  • Photographic surveys of historic buildings and sites, or historic events.
  • Short notes, individual pictures or even memories of the town.

Feel free to get in contact with any ideas you might have for new pages. We can publish as either static webpages or downloadable .pdf files. The editors of the site can help with the writing process if needed. All we request is that any text be your own, any copied text to be properly credited to the original author, and the sources for information be given where appropriate. Have a look at the existing pages on the site to get some idea.

For static webpages, all you need to send is your text and any pictures. For pdfs, follow the steps below under ‘formatting pdfs’

MKP & TW May 2022

Formatting pdfs

These notes are preferred guidelines, send us a message to discuss if needed.

  • Paper size A4. Margins 1.5 cm
  • Typeface preferably Palatino or Garamond, serif fonts, 12pt but pix captions 10 pt. Space between paragraphs 3pt
  • Text left justified. Paragraph indent 5mm.
  • Preferably single column to aid mobile phone compatibility, but tables permissible
  • Endnotes preferred over footnotes
  • Names of ships, titles of books, to be in italics
  • End notes laid out in the following style:

1) “Dockyards” from Encyclopaedia Britannica, 6th. ed. Vol 3, 1824, pp 591-601.
2) Entire text of Roger Morris, The Royal Dockyards during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, 1983, pp. 261.
3) Mary Bentham, Paper on the First Introduction of Steam Engines into Naval Arsenals: and the Machinery set in Motion therein. London, 1847, John Weale, Architectural Press. pp. 24.
4) Henry Roland, “The Revoluton in Machine-Shop Practice” , The Engineering Magazine, Vol XVIII, No 1, Oct 1899. pp. 41-58.
5) K. R. Gilbert, The Portsmouth Blockmaking Machinery. Science Museum, 1964, pp. 41.
6) Jonathan Coad, The Royal Dockyards 1690-1859, 1989, Chapter 9, “The Introduction of Steam”, pp. 225-232.
7) Carolyn C. Cooper, “The Production Line at Portsmouth Block Mill”, Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol VI, Winter 1981-82, pp. 28-44.
8) Carolyn C. Cooper, “The Portsmouth system of Manufacture”, Technology and Culture, Vol 25, No 2, 1984, pp. 182-225.

The technique of digitising texts

Tony Woolrich
This article includes material from: A. P. Woolrich, ‘The General music articles in Rees’s Cyclopaedia, by Dr Charles Burney, John Farey, Sr. & John Farey, Jr.’, The Burney Letter, Vol. 25, No. 1, The Burney Society, Spring 2019.

The Burney Project is based at McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada, and concerns the editing and publication of the writings of the music historian Dr Charles Burney, 1726 – 1814, and his daughter Frances, 1752 – 1840, the novelist and diarist. The texts of some 2000 articles on music from Rees’s Cyclopaedia (1802-1819) were prepared for the use of the project’s editors.

Some people place JPEGs of historic book pages online, but these are not always easy to read where the image quality is indifferent. Proper edited texts allow the addition of an editorial commentary, and also the cutting of extraneous material.

It is now possible to easily produce a modern version of historic texts by using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) facility of digitised editions. These may be found on the Internet Archive and the Hathi Trust Digital Library websites. Other sources can be identified from The Online Books Page. I tend to disregard Google Books as so much there is in snippet view only.

The online digital resources are of Public Domain material, in other words copyright free. They are all based in America, so adhere to American copyright law, where anything copyrighted prior to 1925 is in the public domain. So the great majority of texts likely to interest the local historian obtained from those sources are covered. Under American and EU law the copyright of more recent authors is the extent of their life plus 70 years, so from 2020 it is 1950. But this extends as time passes. For anything more recent the writer need to give permission.

The editing procedure is simple but time-consuming. It helps to have a wide computer screen, say at least 60cm diagonally, as working a regular laptop screen can be cramping. Proof-checking is vital. Writers are often blind to to their spelling idiosyncrasies, so it is wise to ask a second person to do it.

The texts are identified in the online sites and the OCRd version (sometimes noted as TEXT version), is copied and pasted into a text editor, which has the effect of stripping out all the hidden HTML coding of the web-page, leaving it in pure TEXT format. I use the NoteTab editor, but others are available. This in turn is copied and pasted into the word processor which enables the text to be properly formatted and edited, retaining such features like italics and bolds. I use the Atlantis word processor which is not part of an office suite, but designed for writers. This will not set mathematics, so I use the Formula feature on Writer component of the Libre Office Suite for this.

The resulting document will need careful editing against the original. Where an original text is to hand this is no problem, otherwise page images will need to be downloaded and printed so a comparison can be made. I use Paint Net for image manipulation.

A problem which can arise concerns the inclusion in original texts of ligatures, accents and foreign language characters, such as Greek, which are not recognised by OCR software. These need manual correction.

Where no digitised or OCR version exists online it is necessary to use an OCR program on the computer with a scanner. I use Abbey FineReader, in conjunction with a Plustek book scanner. The latter is designed to scan pages from a bound book, as it stops the gutter shadow that can arise from an opened bound book on a regular flat-bed scanner. Printed page images can also be scanned, of course. Once the text has been acquired, as before, I generally use Atlantis, a dedicated writer’ programme, for the editing. The texts are saved at RTF (Rich Text Format) by FineReader, which Atlantis automatically picks up, so making a seamless editing process.

The following links are to resources I use for work on the Bridgwater Heritage Group website: There are alternatives, both for Windows and also Mac computers, of course. A web-search will locate them.

Text Digitisation sites
Internet Archive
Hathi Trust Digital Library
The Online Books Page


Text manipulation
NoteTab text editor
Atlantis word processor
Libre Office suite:

Image manipulation
Paint Net

Abbyy FineReader
Plustek book scanner

TW: 22/03/2020