New Video on Transcribe Bentham

13 02 2011

2010: The Year of Crowdsourced Transcription

4 02 2011

2010 was the year that collaborative manuscript transcription finally caught on, according to a recent blog post by Ken Brumfield.

Brumfield states that:

Probably the biggest news this year was TranscribeBentham, a project at University College London to crowdsource the transcription of Jeremy Bentham’s papers. This involved the development of Transcription Desk, a MediaWiki-based tool which is slated to be released under an open-source license. The team of volunteers had transcribed 737 pages of very difficult handwriting when I last consulted the Benthamometer. The Bentham team has done more than any other transcription tool to publicize the field — explaining their work on their blog, reaching out through the media (including articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times), and even highlighting other transcription projects on Melissa Terras’s blog.


I agree that Transcribe Bentham was the big digital humanities news story of 2010.


Crowdsourcing Wikileaks

1 12 2010

In earlier posts, I spoke about the use of crowdsourcing by historians and archivists. One example of crowdsourcing is Transcribe Bentham, which ask volunteers to transcribe correspondence from the Bentham archive.

Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper is now getting into the crowdsourcing business. It is asking the public for help plotting Wikileaks documents on a Google Map.

From the Globe website:

Add to our collaborative map of the most interesting WikiLeaks diplomatic notes

The Globe and Mail is using Google Maps to plot some of the quarter million U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. We’d like your help! If you come across any interesting cables relating to Canada or other countries, simply edit this collaborative map.

Here’s how: To plot a point, log into your Google/Gmail account in the top right corner, click “Edit” and select and drag the blue placemark tool at the top left of the map to the most relevant location. Fill in the title field with the year of the cable and a short descriptive headline. Then add a few sentences describing the cable. If possible, use the rich text editing option to add a link to the actual cable from Click “OK,” then “Save” and then “Done”.

Click here to edit the map.

I have mixed feelings about for-profit corporations asking unpaid volunteers to help build up content on their websites. However, it is interesting that the crowdsourcing meme has spread to a major news organization.