Community Transcription-Thirty Months In

October 30th, 2013

In the thirty months since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription, we have been steadily adding transcribers. 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 1,538 users, with approximately 50 new transcribers signed up since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 11,506 saves to War Department documents, which is about 200 additional edits since the last update. Additionally, transcribers have initiated 494 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 93,069 total page views.

By now we have an incredibly rich variety of folks transcribing, from museum professionals to archivists, from students to veterans, and from writers to hobbyists. Transcribers also include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university.

New transcribers in the last month include genealogists, graduate students, teachers, self-described “history buffs,” and professional research historians. Those who specified an interest or focus included ship building, Native American history, and specific people and military units. 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. Many of them deal with pay for soldiers or officers. Some are short receipts while others are lengthy transcripts of speeches or treaties. There are request from veterans and their widows for pension payments and applications by refugees from Canada for relief.

As we continue forward with the project, users may still register for a transcription account.