Digital Library of Georgia

Creating Titles and Summaries for Descriptive Records


When forming titles, you will use the information within the document or a finding aid if provided. You may add information to the title you have gleaned from research, but please bracket it in square brackets.

If there is already a title provided (as with essays), use it. If your document includes multiple titled essays, form your own title rather than using both titles. Titles you form should include the type of document (you may use the Art and Architecture Thesaurus for acceptable formats), date and subject of the document (for letters you do not need to include subject-see below). The order should be: type: subject, date. For example:

Essay on funding for the University of Georgia, [1853-1854?] (untitled essay, see example 1 below)

Kossuth, 1853 Feb. 1 (essay title provided by author, see example 2)

For letters, please form them:

Letter: [place written if known], to [recipient], [where the recipient is], [date]

For example:

e.g. Letter: Sparta, to Callie King, 1852 Sept. 28

Dates should be formed using the following order: year, month abbreviation, day [don't use commas to separate portions of the date]. Use the following abbreviations: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.


1853 Feb. 1

1852 Sept. 28

If a date does not appear in the letter and you provide it through your knowledge of the collection, place it in square brackets. If you are uncertain about it, add a ? after it: e.g. [1853-1854?]


Your summary should be no longer than 6-10 sentences. (Bear in mind that there may be exceptions.) Use your first sentence as a synopsis of the document: who wrote it, to whom, when, about what, and what is it [type of document]. For example:

Example 1:
"In this essay written in 1853-1854?, Gustavus A. Bull addresses the mishandling of funds by the Trustees of the University of Georgia and the failure of the Georgia legislature to provide more money for the university including faculty salaries."

Example 2:
"Gustavus A. Bull delivers a speech concerning Louis Kossuth, a famous orator and the Hungarian president, 1849, who was forced into exile by Russian forces, at the Lagrange High School, July 1, 1852."

Example 3:
"Letter from Sallie (Baxter) Bird, wife of Hancock County plantation-owner Edgeworth Bird, to Callie King, daughter of Joseph Henry Lumpkin and wife of Porter King, dated September 28, 1852 about her two-month-long trip north."

Use successive sentences to provide more details about the subject of the letter including context. Try to add extra information about Georgia figures (full forms of names, positions, relationships to others in the collection) and explicate more fully any subjects you feel aren't immediately apparent to the average high school reader. There will be project-specific cheat sheets to help you out. Please add to them as you discover more information about the players in the collection. For most letters, you should really spend no more than 5-10 minutes researching. For particularly "murky" letters or ones with several allusions you may need to spend more time.

Example 1 (continued):
"Bull makes some suggestions to obtain more money such as selling the university's botanical garden and decreasing the salary of the university's treasurer. Bull also rebukes arguments made by "Georgia" (possibly in Augusta's newspaper, The Chronicle & Sentinel) stating that the graduating class suffered academically because empty faculty positions such as that of Charles Francis McCay, who left in 1853, were not filled. McCay's courses were covered by university president Alonzo Church and Professor [John L.?] LeConte."

Example 2 (continued):
"Bull portrays Kossuth as a hero, and, expresses his regrets over the loss of the presidency and the ended freedom of Hungary."

Example 3 (continued):
"During her trip, she visited Athens, Ga. and saw members of the Cobb family, but was unable to see the Lumpkin family. Sallie also touches affairs at Granite farm, her husband's plantation, her uncle Leroy's illness, and news of others in their social circle."

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