Crowdsourced Text Transcription
Handwritten manuscript materials contain a vast amount of information that is still largely not machine-readable. This poses challenges to librarians, archivists, museum and academic specialists whose work relies on these materials. This paper will present a series of approaches to volunteer-driven crowdsourced transcription, and will outline some of the pitfalls and benefits of crowdsourcing in the humanities. It will begin by briefly considering the genesis of five transcription projects and tools developed at Zooniverse (Zooniverse.org) the world-leading academic crowdsourcing organization headquartered at the University of Oxford, and with branches at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the University of Minnesota. The talk will conclude with a detailed account of the first full text transcription project undertaken at Zooniverse, in partnership with Tate Britain, due to launch in July 2015. It will invite volunteers to transcribe twentieth-century British artists' sketchbooks, letters and diaries. This project has potential for replication at other institutions and by individuals, and the talk will offer suggestions for how to deploy crowdsourcing, and the Zooniverse platform in particular.