Although the standard Editorial Method for the Joseph Smith Papers generally applies to the Financial Records series, financial documents differ from most other documents in notable ways. The following statement of editorial method, therefore, describes style decisions unique to financial documents. In some cases, these style decisions depart from the standard Editorial Method in order to make the financial records more usable.
This statement of editorial method will be updated as needed as the Financial Records series expands.
The second-level verification for financial documents diverges slightly from the rest of the Joseph Smith Papers. The normal process for verifying that a document is transcribed correctly is to employ a double-blind tandem proofread of the transcript against an image of the original document. Because accurately transcribing financial documents often requires specialized knowledge of record-keeping practices and scribal patterns, the Financial Records series sometimes employs an alternative verification process, wherein a document specialist works alone to compare the image and transcript.
Financial documents are commonly composed of numerical entries, such as records of accounts and debts in ledgers or daybooks. These entries are transcribed as tables to aid understanding and data extraction. Tables are standardized and do not replicate the exact spacing and formatting of the original, but the information is retained in a way that seeks to preserve original intent and follow a logical organization. Lines demarcating rows and columns are not transcribed.
Each entry has its own row. If an entry spans more than one line, it is transcribed in a single cell and includes line breaks.
The number of columns in tables may be standardized so that the number of columns is consistent between similar types of tables throughout a financial document regardless of whether there is content in every cell of each column. Generally, there are separate columns for the date, transaction details (recipient, goods, services, etc.), and transaction amount (see Amounts below). Therefore, the number of columns in the transcript may not correspond to the number of delineated columns on any given page of the original document.
If a date is included in an entry, it may be standardized to appear in the top left cell of the entry if such standardization makes the document more understandable. In chronological records like daybooks, the date—which was usually written at the top of the page or in the course of transactions—has been supplied where necessary for clarification. If a date spans multiple columns, it is standardized to appear in a single cell. In more complicated records, dates that correspond to multiple entries may be standardized to appear in their own row, whereas dates that correspond to individual entries will appear in the same row as the entry itself.
In the original documents, sums are often separated from the rest of a column by a horizontal line. In transcripts, this is rendered as underlining applied to text in the cell above the total.
The words credit and debit, or the abbreviations cr and dr, may be standardized to appear at the top of the applicable columns in order to aid reader comprehension of these amounts.
To differentiate sections in tables, a blank line or row is silently added between sections. For example, in Trustees Land Book A, there is a blank row between lot 4 of block 125 and lot 1 of block 126 that does not appear in the original manuscript.
When the majority of text in a row is overwritten with new text, the inserted text is transcribed in its own row rather than keeping the canceled and inserted text in the same row.
When an amount is spelled out and most of the amounts in the surrounding text or table are written in numerals, the spelled-out amount is changed to numerals. This includes changing cent amounts to numerals written in the form of fractions. Dollar signs and pound signs, if present in the original, are transcribed before the amount, regardless of where they appear in the original. The words dollars, cents, pounds, shillings, and pence (and abbreviations thereof) are not included with amounts, even if the words appear in the original. Commas, spaces, or dashes between dollars and cents are standardized as decimal points; likewise, commas, spaces, or decimal points between pounds, shillings, and pence are standardized as en dashes. Totals are generally transcribed in the far-right column of each entry to aid data analysis. Formatting is standardized to that each distinct amount appears in a single cell.
In accordance with the general Editorial Method, revisions to amounts are transcribed to show the entire amount canceled and inserted. For example, if “32” was revised to “34” by canceling the “2” and inserting a “4”, the revision is transcribed as “
32.00 <34.00>” instead of “3 2<4>.00”.
If there is a dollar amount with no indication of cents, a decimal point and two zeros are added. For example, “5” is transcribed as “5.00”. Similarly, if there is no dollar amount in the original, a zero is silently supplied. For example, “.25” is transcribed as “0.25”. Any extra zeros are removed. Commas are added to numbers in the thousands or greater to aid comprehension. For example, “1000” is transcribed as “1,000.00”. In the tithing records found in the Book of the Law of the Lord, both American and British currency is recorded, sometimes on the same page. To further distinguish between the two types of currency systems, a dollar sign has been silently added to the transcript wherever American currency is not indicated as such in the original.
In the nineteenth century, British currency was made up of pounds (£), shilling (s), and pence (d), with 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. The numerical units were often separated by colons, dashes, or slashes. Because the usual practice in British ledgers was to employ en dashes, that method has been used here. In all instances where British currency (£sd) appears in documents and record books in the Financial Records Series, a pound sign (£) appears before the monetary amount in the transcript, even if the sign does not appear in the original. If the pound, shilling, or pence amounts are not indicated, zeroes and dashes are supplied in their places. For example, “£5” is transcribed as “£5–0–0”, “4s” is transcribed as “0–4–0”, and “2d” is transcribed as “0–0–2”. Any extra zeros are removed. Commas are added to numbers in the thousands or greater to aid comprehension. For example, “1000” is transcribed as “1,000–0–0”.
Clerks often placed a slash or line through the abbreviation “lb” for pounds. This gave rise to the modern hash mark known as the pound sign (#). In Financial Series transcripts, the “lb” has been presented without this slash.
In financial documents, the word “ditto”, its abbreviation “do”, the ditto symbol ("), and other symbols (such as dashes) representing repetition are removed and replaced with the intended word(s) or amount in square brackets.
In the Nauvoo land records Trustee Land Books A and B, block and lot numbers are standardized to align with the first entry for that section.