It’s been fourteen months now since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. Nearly a year ago, we offered the Scripto transcription tool, 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 680 users-fully 110 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 4,262 saves to War Department documents, which is about 500 more than at the last update. That works out to more than 860 finished documents, along with another 68 documents begun. Additionally, transcribers have initiated approximately 230 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 university professors, genealogists, hobbyists, doctoral candidates, librarians, 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 the Seneca Nation to the Daughters of the American Revolution, and from the Society of the Cincinnati to major research universities. 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 Some of our transcribers had extensive experience with historical documents when they began; for others, this is their first encounter with two hundred-year old letters and handwriting.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 intelligence reports detailing the movements of Indian parties. Others describe treaty negotiations or terms. Many documents chronicle criminal proceedings; there are financial records and officers’ commissions, as well as supply inventories.
As we continue forward with the project, users may still register for a transcription account.