Scripto Alpha Launches with the Papers of the War Department

We are pleased to announce the alpha implementation of Scripto, CHNM’s open source tool for crowdsourcing documentary transcription, with the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 project.  Beginning today, interested volunteers can register to begin transcribing any of the materials in this groundbreaking digital archive.

With major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities and the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission, CHNM is pioneering a new phase in digital documentary editing, by allowing users to transcribe historical documents and contribute them to a digital archive of correspondence, speeches, accounting logs, and other documents from early American history.

Building on the models of other crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia and Flickr Commons, PWD will benefit from the various enthusiastic communities of volunteer transcribers. Volunteers—who may include historians doing scholarly research, students and teachings, genealogists, and other interested members of the general public—will have the opportunity to transcribe any of the over 45,000 documents in the digital archive.  In doing so, they will make that text available to the search engine, improving the ability of users to locate the materials they need.  Additionally, as users select documents to transcribe the editors at the PWD project will gain significant insights into the areas of the collection that are of most interest to the wider user community.

PWD’s work with community transcription is part of a larger project to make crowdsourcing possible for archivists and documentary editors with digital collections, using a slightly customized version of Scripto. Eventually, other projects will be able to plug Scripto into a number of common content management system through the use of some simple connection scripting. Editors interested in adding transcription to their archive can experiment with the tool in its current alpha state. CHNM will use the feedback from this implementation with PWD to improve the Scripto’s functionality.

Please experiment with this version of Scripto by registering for a transcription account today!


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