It’s been sixteen months now since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription, and ever since then we have been steadily adding finished documents to our archive. What started with just a dozen or so volunteers has grown into an active, vigorous community of volunteer transcribers.
We offer here yet another snapshot at our transcription activity.
To date, we have 795 users-fully 124 them have transcribed within the last 90 days. This continues a trend of increased users, but also more active users. Those transcribers have made more than 4,788 saves to War Department documents, which is about 500 more than at the last update. That works out to more than 957 finished documents, along with another 43 documents begun. Additionally, transcribers have initiated approximately 261 conversations using the “talk” feature. We also know that on average, each document is edited between three and four times before it is finished.
Our transcribers truly represent a cross-section of life: we have scholars, genealogists, hobbyists, doctoral candidates, archivists, historical re-enactors, CEOs, and many other kinds of folks transcribing. There are transcribers from every American state, and from six different continents. Affiliations range from major research universities to genealogical societies, and from the every branch of the armed forces. Their interests range from personal research, to genealogy, to dissertation research. Some of our transcribers had extensive experience with historical documents when they began; for others, this is their first encounter with two hundred-year old letters and handwriting. Many of our transcribers have only worked on a few documents, but several have transcribed dozens of them.
The documents themselves vary widely in content. Some are orders to military officers. Others describe treaty negotiations or terms. Many documents request supplies or instructions; there are financial records and officers’ commissions, as well as transcripts of disciplinary proceedings.
As we continue forward with the project, users may still register for a transcription account.