Notes for Users

Errors and searching
See the explanation in the "Search Letters" page for how to search for words or combinations of words.

The text of the items (letter summaries) still contains many errors due to the limitations of the hard copy used and the inaccuracy of Optical Character Recognition (OCR).  Proof reading and correction is continuing. Until it is completed, using the "Search Letters" facility will not be completely reliable.  A tip: use the stem of the word with the * wildcard, as described in the Search Letters page, to increase the chances of recognising a word containing OCR errors.  This is important in proper names, which are often followed by a footnote reference which the OCR has merged into the name, e.g. Gatling1.  Use Gatl*.

Correspondent Index
The Correspondent Index, is more reliable because it was compiled independently and the references have been checked.  The date on the first line of each item was calculated by looking for dates in the text. The method used did not recognise, for example, "Xmas Day, 1873" which would therefore be translated to 1873 on the top line (and in the Correspondent Index reference).  "Dec. 1873" would be translated into 12/73.  "25 Dec. 1873" would come out as 25/12/73.  If no date was recognised the calculated date field will be [nd].

References to the microfilm calendar
Sue Goldie identifies the items in her Calendar as published on microfiche by a reference with four terms e.g. B. 4. E1, 155.  This web edition identifies the same item by the reference 4_155 in the first line of the item before the date.  The two omitted terms are not necessary to identify the item - they are guides to physical location in hard copy or microfiche and are therefore not relevant to an electronic publication.  The letter B identified the Section, a group of hardcopy pages covering a defined epoch in Florence Nightingale's life.  Item numbering (e.g. 155) began again with each new Section.  The other term in Goldie's reference specified the coordinates of the image on a 98-image microfiche: E1 meant Row 5 Column 1.

References to B.M. Add. MSS.
Users should not put too much trust in these references, which identify a volume and folio number in the British Library Additional Manuscripts series.  The OCR software was erratic in deciphering these references, and some heroic assumptions have been made in automatically correcting the OCR errors.  The references now look plausible, but may be wrong.  If you are publishing a reference without checking the manuscript source, it is safer to quote the Sue Goldie Calendar reference.

Errors in the original Calendar:

Characteristics of the original calendar which have been changed in the digital version:

20 March 2010

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