In March of 2017 the Maine State Library and the Maine State Archives launches a joint crowd-sourced transcription site. The site is open for anyone with an internet connection to create a user login and help with the project. Over the past 10 months hundreds of documents have been transcribe equalling thousands of pages.
Born out of a need to make the handwritten and early type set documents within our digital collection as accessible as the modern printed documents to our users. Since computers are unable to read handwriting and software that can read type known Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tends to be designed for modern fonts and print types, these documents are left unsearchable. And in a word where many search engines use the full text to find documents, harder to find. Creating a transcription which is places as a seperate files on the same page as the original document, put them on an even playing field.
An equally important role that the transcriptions play is to open up these documents to people for whom they were inaccessible in there other forms. This includes people who are visually impaired and use screen readers, and people who are unable to read old handwriting.
Since launching the project the University of Maine has also begun adding items to be transcribed, and new content is added regularly by all the partners.
For those interested in transcribing
The first step to help with the project is, to create a user account. it is free, simple and can be done anywhere with internet access. Follow this link and complete the “Create an Account” form: http://digitalmaine.net/projects/scripto/login. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your registration email. You must click the confirm link. Once confirmed return to the login link above and login to the transcription site.
From there choose any of the documents on the site to transcribe. Just click on the document and any page that has the green “Not Started” under them can be transcribed! There is a how to guide that covers the basics of transcription, Transcription 101 .
If you have specific interests look for documents by Tags or by searching for a Title, you can even “Browse All” and see what there is to be done. More content will be added as items are completed. We also encourage people to explore all of digital holdings at www.digitalmaine.com.