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I'm looking through a finding guide that uses a few abbreviations:

  • Ts (typescript)
  • Ms (manuscript)
  • Tss (typescript, signed)
  • AMs (autographed—written by author—manuscript)
  • AMss (autographed manuscript, signed)

Is the difference between a manuscript and typescript mainly that manuscripts are always handwritten and typescripts are always typed?

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  • 2
    Yes. Yeppers. Correct. Aug 20 '14 at 15:46
  • Crayonscripts are much rarer....
    – Oldcat
    Aug 20 '14 at 16:44
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Not all manuscripts are actually manuscripts. It depends on the cataloguing that the archivist, librarian or records officer has done. Often manuscript is used as a short-hand for any original documentation produced.

Typescripts are relatively recent additions, and are often incorrectly referred to as manuscripts. Correspondingly, "mimeo" "xerography" "wet stencil copy" "carbon" "heat print" aren't really seen often. "Perishable office copy" might be a better classification for most of these, just like "perishable office print of electronic file" might be a long term result for those documents produced in offices from digital files.

This does leave out a bunch of more obscure classifications of documents, and obviously leaves out a bunch of electronic file types.

The only way to deal with a finding aid with partial or complete classification like that is to test the data by sampling cases you think are likely to be wrong, so you get an idea of what the archivist had in mind when producing the finding aid.

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