Publication Date

November 30, 2011

experimental sessionAt this year’s 126th annual meeting, AHA session 138, Crowdsourcing History: Collaborative Online Transcription and Archives, will feature five-minute “lightning talks” by nine scholar-technologists who are studying and working on crowdsourcing projects. This session is part of the larger “The Future Is Here: Digital Methods in Research and Teaching in History” series of digital history sessions at the upcoming annual meeting.

The age-old wisdom that “many hands make light work” is the core of the recent crowdsourcing phenomenon. Instead of relying on a few individuals to complete a project, crowdsourcing turns to the power of the masses.

For example, the University of Iowa Libraries wanted to transcribe Civil War diaries from a recent collection, to make them easier to read and search online. Transcribing can be an expensive and time-consuming task, so the university turned to volunteers on the Internet, large numbers of people who were willing to transcribe a few pages each. By crowdsourcing the transcription project it was completed more quickly and less expensively than it would if the university’s small staff had been put to the task.

The details of session 138, on crowdsourcing projects, follow below:

Crowdsourcing History: Collaborative Online Transcription and Archives
AHA Session 138
Date: Saturday, January 7, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Location: Chicago Ballroom IX (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)

Chair: Shane Landrum, Brandeis University

Description: This experimental session will feature five minute “lightning talks” by a number of scholar-technologists who are studying and working on crowdsourcing projects. This wide array of presenters will enable attendees to get a clear sense of how collaborative transcription projects work, while leaving time for audience discussion. See AHA 2012 proposal: Crowdsourcing History for details.

Crowdsourcing Transcription of the Papers of the War Department Using Scripto
Sharon M. Leon, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Transcribing Jeremy Bentham
Valerie Wallace, The Bentham Project, University College London

T-PEN—Transcription for Paleographical and Editorial Notation
James Ginther, Center for Digital Theology, Saint Louis University

Invisible Australians: Living under the White Australia Policy
Kate Bagnall, independent scholar; Tim Sherratt, National Museum of Australia

Crowdsourcing Access to Women’s History in Western Australia
Jennifer Griffiths, historian and heritage consultant

Linked Data, Transcription, and Markup for Archives and Communities
Abigail Belfrage, Public Record Office, Victoria, Australia

Crowdsourcing Historical Climate Data and Papyrus Transcriptions
Chris Lintott, Citizen Science Alliance

FromThePage: A Web-Based Tool for Transcribing, Indexing, and Annotating Handwritten Material
Ben Brumfield, software engineer

User Participation and Collaborative Creativity
Alexandra Eveleigh, University College London

In an effort to highlight the diverse range of scholarship at the upcoming annual meeting, we’re highlighting different sessions here on the blog each week. Check out other sessions we’ve recently profiled, including:

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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