It’s been twenty-two 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.
As of this morning, we have 1,272 users-fully 215 them have transcribed within the last 90 days, which is about 17%. This number has held remarkably steady for many months. Those transcribers have made more than 10,422 saves to War Department documents, which is about 900 more than at the last update. That works out to 1,902 finished documents, along with another 36 documents begun. Additionally, transcribers have initiated nearly 400 conversations using the “talk” feature. We also know that on average, each document is edited about three times before it is finished. Moreover, we have had 49,707 total page views.
By now we have an incredibly rich variety of folks transcribing, from classroom teachers to journalists, from archivists to doctoral candidates,and from park rangers to genealogists. There are folks transcribing from every American state, and from six different continents. We have unaffiliated transcribers as well as those attached to institutions, ranging from major research universities to historical societies, and from the National Park Service to the Cherokee. Among those that specify an interest or focus, those interests range from professional research, to family research, to classroom activities. Some of our transcribers had extensive experience with historical documents when they began; for others, this is their first encounter with two hundred-year old letters and handwriting.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 we have a growing number of people who have transcribed dozens of them. Some of our transcribers have no particular interest in the War Department Papers, but are evaluating Scripto to use in their own projects.
The documents themselves vary widely in content. Some describe internal disciplinary action. Others include nominations for military posts. Many documents request supplies or instructions; there are supply lists and officers’ commissions, as well as intelligence or action reports.
As we continue forward with the project, users may still register for a transcription account.