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Objects of the Society: The Navy Records Society, founded in 1893, exists primarily to publish 'unpublished manuscripts and rare works of naval interest'. Over 150 volumes have been published on a wide variety of subjects and periods, including some materials from other countries. There is no set length for volumes. Short pieces (i.e., of less than 100 pages) may be included in the Naval Miscellany volumes published from time to time. Otherwise, volumes range from 380 to 650 pages. The Society has recently established an 'Occasional Publications' series for materials which do not fit readily into the format of its conventional series.
Navy records: These vary so greatly that it is impossible to lay down strict rules for transcribing and editing them. Editors should use their own judgment, referring problems to the General Editor. Previously published volumes dealing with a similar subject are worth consulting for further guidance.
The Society will not ordinarily accept proposals which appear to require government documents of less than 30 years' ago, as these are not generally released at The National Archives until 30 years have elapsed.
Transcription of documents in English: Where possible, documents should be transcribed with modern spelling, punctuation and capitalization, while retaining the meaning of the original. However, it will generally not be possible so to treat English documents written earlier than the sixteenth century, or in any form of the language whose syntax or vocabulary differs markedly from the modern received usage. In such cases, editors should present their texts in a style as close as possible to the original. Abbreviations, in documents of all ages, should be reproduced exactly. Where the meaning of an abbreviation is uncertain, the original should be rendered as faithfully as a normal font of type will permit, with a note expressing whatever editorial comment is possible. In most cases, however, abbreviations will be gathered together in a glossary at the front of the volume.
When seeking to bring the original into line with modern English, it is particularly important to keep changes to the minimum required to do so. Words or phrases whose original form is significant, or whose meaning is doubtful, may be inserted in the text in square brackets. Missing words also may be inserted in square brackets; they should be accompanied by '?'. Where meanings are obscure, they should be explained in a footnote. In modernizing punctuation, it is especially important not to change the sense of the original, nor to establish a single sense where the original offers several possibilities. It is permissible to render Roman numerals in Arabic form, if so desired. Any editorial changes should be indicated clearly in the text and the editor's policy in this regard should be stated in the introduction to the volume. Editors should follow British rather than American spelling, except in the case of originals which are spelt in the American form.
Nautical terms: Editors may assume in their readers a general familiarity with nautical terms, at least of those in common use; obscure terms should be explained briefly in a footnote. Should there be a number of such words, readers should be referred to a glossary.
Presentation of text and documents: In general documents should be rendered in full. Where material is omitted, this should be identified clearly and the policy to be followed should be stated in the introduction to the text; editors may use *** or ... If editors feel that an omitted passage is nevertheless worthy of some representation, this may be done in the form of a brief abstract. Formal compliments at the beginning and end of documents are normally omitted; an exception might be made where it is desired to indicate the nature of the relationship between correspondents. Documents should be numbered consecutively throughout the volumes. Where possible, complete dates and at least brief addresses should be entered at the heads of letters, and any subheadings, appendices and enclosures clearly marked. Enclosures should be given a number (e.g., if the document is numbered 198, any enclosure should be numbered 198A). Documents generally total two or three hundred and all are relatively brief but some volumes will be editions of just a handful of rather lengthy documents, which require different treatment in general presentation and especially headings (see Example E).
Document source citations: The archival citation may be given on the left hand side of each document heading (see examples). However, in some cases such citations might be rather lengthy and somewhat untidy and in such cases it would be better to cite them at the end of the document. A full note on sources and their locations should be placed at the end of the text. Alternatively it may be desirable to print citations in a distinct list after the documents.
Examples of layout: To be sure that the examples look the same whatever format you are using, please see pages 2 and 3 of the PDF version of these notes
Documents in foreign languages: While brief phrases or quotations in well-known languages may be left in the original, documents must be translated into English. Providing an accurate translation is available, this may be printed in the text, though it should be clearly stated in a note that it is a translation. If the document in its original language is a short one, it may be printed either in the note or following the English version, in which case it should be rendered in italic type. Should editors wish to print the original version first, then the English translation must follow.
Footnotes: The extent to which texts are footnoted will depend on the nature of the material; for example, where names of officers occur in a document, footnotes summarising their careers may be included. Editors might wish to identify vessels. Career and ship details need to be consistent. The latter should describe a ship at the time it is mentioned in the text. Other documents, articles, books, maps or similar further information may be cited. It is appropriate to abbreviate to a sensible degree in footnotes. Abbreviations commonly used, initials of institutions and acronyms should be listed in the Glossary of Abbreviations.
Biographical and other indexes: It may be desirable to provide a separate biographical index, or a summary of other material (e.g., details of ships). This device will save on footnoting and facilitate reference.
Examples of footnotes: To be sure that the examples look the same whatever format you are using, please see pages 3 and 4 of the PDF version of these notes
Other material: A frontispiece photograph (in monochrome) may be included, provided it is of good enough quality for clear reproduction. Maps will generally be necessary. They should be accurate, clear, not over detailed but should mention key places referred to in the text, together with indications of routes taken by ships or forces if this is pertinent. Maps should be of a size to fit on the pages of the text (22x14cm). Where maps, drawings, paintings or photographs are included, editors are responsible for securing permission from their owners to reproduce them, and for ensuring that any fees required are paid before publication; acknowledgment of permission to reproduce such items should be made at an appropriate point.
Layout of volumes and nature of introductions: No hard and fast rules can be imposed but it is normal to divide the text into 'parts' or 'chapters'. These may be chronological, geographical or thematic divisions, or simply the titles of documents (provided that the ‘contents’ list is not more than about a page in length). There should be a general introduction to the volume; this should explain fully the nature, provenance, history and whereabouts of the MSS, and the editorial method which has been followed. It should indicate the significance of the material. The Society's usual style is to refer in the introduction to the documents as printed, thus:
'Meanwhile, Sims had arrived in London, meeting with a warm and no doubt heartfelt welcome from Jellicoe [15, 19].'
In some cases, it may be desirable to have only a brief general introduction and more specific ones for each of the parts or chapters. While some introductory essays may be very brief, others may need to explain contexts in more substantial form. Introductory essays must not be allowed to overshadow the texts and must remain relevant. Every endeavour should be made to keep introductory material to not more than 15% of the volume. In such material, after the first mention, there is no need to refer to Royal Naval vessels as 'HMS...' every time they are mentioned thereafter. Care should be taken in expressing opinions about other writers’ work.
Indexing and proof reading: Editors are responsible for compiling the index. Recent NRS volumes generally contain indexes that may serve as examples to follow. Commas should be placed after words in the index and before the page numbers. Editors are also responsible for answering the queries of copy editors and for reading the proofs of their volumes.
Contents: To be sure that the layout of the contents looks the same whatever format you are using, please see page 5 of the PDF version of these notes
List of documents and sources: In the cases of volumes compiled from a variety of sources, the archives used should be listed, followed by the documents in the form shown on pages 5 and 6 of the PDF version of these notes
When quoting dates before the British adoption of the Gregorian calendar (1752), please state whether Old or New Style, 'OS' or 'NS'.
Presentation of typescript: Volumes must be typed, double or 1.5 spacing, with margins similar to this. Footnotes should be gathered together on separate sheets and numbered consecutively throughout each part; the publishers will match the footnotes to the numbers indicated in the text. Modern software will generate end-notes, but they may also be indicated as follows:
'After picking up the men around Kempenfelt (31), the Commanding Officer (32) decided to try and place his ship alongside to try and take off men on Quarter Deck.'
The typescript should be sent to the General Editor in hard copy and he will refer necessary amendments back to the editor to consider and implement. The amended typescript with electronic copy on CD or disc should then be returned to the General Editor for despatch to Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
500-word summary: After the submission of typescript and electronic copy, the editor is required to produce a 500-word summary of the volume. This will appear on the NRS website, and be adapted by Ashgate for advertising the volume in its brochures and for the dust cover when sold by Ashgate Publishing Ltd. It should, if possible, be sent electronically.
Editorial expenses: Editors may claim from the Society legitimate expenses incurred in the compilation and editing of volumes, provided these expenses have not been met from another source. In general, editors may claim for necessary postage, travel, telephone calls, secretarial assistance, photocopying, indexing, cartographic and photographic work, fees paid for copyright material and such other expenditure as the Society's Hon. Treasurer is willing to allow, up to a maximum of £600. Expenses, accompanied where possible by receipts, may be claimed from the Society via the General Editor on publication of the volume. The Society cannot underwrite the full costs of research, for which editors are themselves responsible; editors may wish to apply for funding from, e.g., the British Academy, the Scouloudi Foundation, other grant-making bodies or from their own academic institutions where applicable. The General Editor will give advice on seeking financial assistance. Fees paid for use of copyrighted material are also allowable.
Legal responsibility: Editors are asked to ensure that they have permission to reproduce documents, maps and photographs, that such material is duly acknowledged, and that any fees involved have been paid. They are also requested to ensure that no potentially libellous statements are made, e.g., in introductory essays when making critical observations on the work of other authors or on the performance of living individuals. If in doubt, they should refer proposed passages to the General Editor at an early stage. See the Society's contact page.