March 17, 2016
For Immediate Release: Celebrate the Five Year Anniversary of Community Transcription with the Papers of the War Department
Celebrate the five year anniversary of community sourced transcription with the Papers of the War Department 1784-1800 (http://wardepartmentpapers.org). An ongoing innovative documentary editing project, the Papers of the War Department is comprised of 0ver 42,000 digitized manuscript documents made freely accessible on the web by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) (http://chnm.gmu.edu/). In 2011, RRCHNM embarked on the effort to engage the larger community of citizen historians in the process of transcribing these important documents. By transcribing the digitized manuscripts, users contribute to the collection’s usability and searchability. March 17, 2016 marks five years since the launch of the community transcription project Papers of the War Department and we are delighted at its success thus far.
After a devastating fire at the United States War Office in 1800, what has been considered the “national archive” of its time was thought lost. The collection was reassembled from scattered fragments found in over 200 diverse repositories before being transferred to the RRCHNM in 2006. These documents are invaluable sources of information on militia and army matters in the Early Republic. The War Department was responsible for frontier diplomacy, Indian affairs, veteran affairs as well as being a considerable commercial goods consumer.
Since inviting members of the community to assist with the transcription effort in 2011, the Papers of the War Department has amassed 2,538 registered users. These users come from varying backgrounds including genealogists, public historians, students and educators from all levels of educational institutions, and members of Native American tribes. With the help from these community transcribers, the Papers of the War Department now has over 1,500 documents transcribed, totaling 6,279 pages. Without the hard work and dedication of our community transcribers, the Papers of the War Department would not have been as successful. We are ecstatic with the contributions the project has received over these first five years and look forward to seeing its continued growth.
The Papers of the War Department was made possible through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Since 1994, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) <http://chnm.gmu.edu> at George Mason University <http://gmu.edu> has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. The Center itself is a democratic, collaborative space where over fifty scholars, technologists, and researchers work together to advance the state of the art. RRCHNM uses digital media and technology to preserve and present history online, transform scholarship across the humanities, and advance historical education and understanding. Each year RRCHNM’s many project websites receive over 20 million visitors, and over a million people rely on its digital tools to teach, learn, and conduct research. Their work has been recognized with major awards and grants from the American Historical Association, National Humanities Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council on Public History, U.S. Department of Education, Library of Congress, Institute of Museum and Library Services, American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon, Sloan, Hewlett, Rockefeller, Gould, Delmas, and Kellogg foundations.