Welcome to Transcribe Bentham

By Tim Causer, on 27 March 2013

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham

‘Many hands make light work. Many hands together make merry work‘, wrote the philosopher and reformer, Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832) in 1793. In this spirit, we cordially welcome you to Transcribe Bentham, a double award-winning collaborative transcription initiative, which is digitising and making available digital images of Bentham’s unpublished manuscripts through a platform known as the ‘Transcription Desk‘. There, you can access the material and—just as importantly—transcribe the material, to help the work of UCL’s Bentham Project, and further improve access to, and searchability of, this enormously important collection of historical and philosophical material.

This is an exciting opportunity to make a genuine difference to research and scholarship by contributing to the production of the new edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, and to help create for posterity a vast digital repository of Bentham’s writings. We warmly invite you to take part in this endeavour: no special skills are required, you do not require approval to participate, and every contribution—no matter how small—is of great value to Transcribe Bentham.

Please consult the Transcribe Bentham FAQ for more details on taking part.

You can also read more about Jeremy Bentham, his thought and his importance, and consult resources on deciphering historical handwriting.

Find out more about the consortium behind Transcribe Bentham, and talks and publications by the project team.

Progress update, 23 to 29 August 2014

By Tim Causer, on 29 August 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 23 to 29 August 2014, during which time further excellent progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers. We would like to thank you all again for your patience while we were attending the International Society for Utilitarian Studies conference in Yokohama last week, and while we work our way through submissions.

10,657 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 75 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 9,602 (92%) have been approved after checking by TB staff – the standard of work submitted by volunteers continues to be of a tremendously high standard.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 203 794 25%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 172 290 59%
Box 15 69 914 8%
Box 18 2 192 1%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 17 122 13%
Box 30 0 193 0%
Box 31 14 302 4%
Box 34 36 398 9%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 31 418 7%
Box 37 27 487 5%
Box 38 56 424 13%
Box 39 8 282 2%
Box 41 80 528 13%
Box 42 74 910 8%
Box 44 52 201 25%
Box 50 159 198 79%
Box 51 374 940 39%
Box 57 17 420 4%
Box 62 55 565 9%
Box 63 21 345 6%
Box 70 298 350 85%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 613 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 124 147 84%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 116 296 39%
Box 98 219 499 43%
Box 100 190 422 42%
Box 107 497 538 92%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 499 864 57%
Box 117 352 853 41%
Box 118 231 880 26%
Box 119 466 990 47%
Box 120 8 686 1%
Box 121 130 526 23%
Box 122 300 717 41%
Box 123 8 443 1%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 214 972 22%
Box 169 183 728 25%
Add MSS 537 691 744 92%
Add MSS 538 494 858 57%
Add MSS 539 413 948 43%
Add MSS 541 180 1258 14%
Overall 10,657 26,796 38%

A number of boxes continue to head towards completion, with Box 537 now being virtually finished – once we work through submissions, it should just about be there. Fantastic!

This week, we also say goodbye to another TB friend and colleague, Dr Kris Grint, who is to take up the post of the Michael Bentley Research Fellow in the School of History, at the University of St Andrews. Kris has been integral to the success of Transcribe Bentham over the last eighteen months, helping to see through the implementation of the upgraded transcription interface, checking volunteer submissions, and in promoting the work of the project. His entry for the British Library’s Untold Lives blog, for example, was vital in discussing the availability of the first batch of Bentham Family correspondence to be uploaded for transcription, and helped to attract a number of new volunteers. And this is all without mentioning his fantastic work on the connected tranScriptorium project, and in enabling the publication of electronic editions via the Bentham Project website. I know a number of TB volunteers have spoken to Kris about TB, and hope you will join us in wishing him all the very best in his new position. We will certainly miss him.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. Your contributions remain as greatly appreciated as ever by us all.

Progress update, 16 to 22 August 2014

By Tim Causer, on 23 August 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 16 to 22 August, which is both slightly late and truncated owing to our attendance at the 2014 International Society for Utilitarian Studies conference in Yokohama. Many apologies for the inconvenience.

We are delighted to say that transcription has continued at a fantastic rate, with 10,582 manuscripts now transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 167 on this time last week. This is tremendous work by TB volunteers, and ISUS delegates repeatedly told us how amazed they were by this progress. We will continue to spread the word in the coming days, as we give presentations on TB and tranScriptorium at universities in Tokyo.

Thanks you, as ever, to everyone who has given their time so generously to TB during the last seven days. We continue to work hard to clear the backlog of submitted transcripts, and hope you won’t mind bearing with us a little longer.

Progress update, 9 to 15 August 2014

By Tim Causer, on 15 August 2014

Welcome to the progress update for the period 9 to 15 August 2014, during which time I’m glad to report that further terrific progress has been made by TB volunteers.

10,415 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 103 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, a fantastic 9,519 (92%) have been approved after checking by TB staff.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 192 794 24%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 172 290 59%
Box 15 63 914 7%
Box 18 2 192 1%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 16 122 13%
Box 30 0 193 0%
Box 31 14 302 4%
Box 34 35 398 8%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 28 418 6%
Box 37 23 487 4%
Box 38 53 424 12%
Box 39 8 282 2%
Box 41 80 528 13%
Box 42 71 910 7%
Box 44 52 201 25%
Box 50 159 198 79%
Box 51 373 940 39%
Box 57 16 420 3%
Box 62 55 565 9%
Box 63 14 345 4%
Box 70 298 350 85%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 613 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 124 147 84%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 115 296 38%
Box 98 219 499 43%
Box 100 190 422 42%
Box 107 497 538 92%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 499 864 57%
Box 117 349 853 40%
Box 118 226 880 25%
Box 119 405 990 40%
Box 120 0 686 0%
Box 121 130 526 23%
Box 122 298 717 40%
Box 123 3 443 0%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 207 972 21%
Box 169 181 728 24%
Add MSS 537 664 744 89%
Add MSS 538 458 858 53%
Add MSS 539 404 948 42%
Add MSS 541 145 1258 11%
Overall 10,415 26,747 39%

A number of boxes – 70, 72, 95, 96, 115, and 537 – are now hurtling towards completion.

Bentham Project staff will be attending the 13th International Society for Utilitarian Studies conference in Yokohama next week, and will then give presentations about TB and our work on the tranScriptorium initiative. Transcripts will continue to be checked during this time, and a progress update will be issued, but it may take longer than usual for us to reply to emails. Apologies in advance for any inconvenience which this may cause.

In the meantime, thank you, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It remains as warmly appreciated as ever!

Progress update, 2 to 8 August 2014

By Tim Causer, on 8 August 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 2 to 8 August 2014, during which time further tremendous progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers.

10,312 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 117 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 9,449 (92%) have been checked and subsequently approved by TB staff.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 183 794 23%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 172 290 59%
Box 15 62 914 7%
Box 18 2 192 1%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 16 122 13%
Box 30 0 193 0%
Box 31 14 302 4%
Box 34 34 398 8%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 28 418 6%
Box 37 23 487 4%
Box 38 53 424 12%
Box 39 8 282 2%
Box 41 80 528 13%
Box 42 71 910 7%
Box 44 52 201 25%
Box 50 159 198 79%
Box 51 373 940 39%
Box 57 16 420 3%
Box 62 55 565 9%
Box 63 11 345 3%
Box 70 298 350 85%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 613 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 115 296 38%
Box 98 219 499 43%
Box 100 190 422 42%
Box 107 497 538 92%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 499 864 57%
Box 117 345 853 40%
Box 118 225 880 25%
Box 119 366 990 36%
Box 120 0 686 0%
Box 121 130 526 23%
Box 122 296 717 40%
Box 123 0 443 0%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 205 972 21%
Box 169 180 728 24%
Add MSS 537 638 744 85%
Add MSS 538 451 858 52%
Add MSS 539 403 948 42%
Add MSS 541 143 1258 11%
Overall 10,312 26,747 39%

Box 537 – the first batch of British Library manuscripts – is now 85% complete, and we look forward to being able to add the images and transcripts to the digital repository in due course.

This week, two new boxes of material were added, both pertaining to Bentham’s panopticon prison scheme. Box 120 contains unpublished polemics dating from 1802 directed at the British government, for what Bentham regarded as their treachery in abandoning the plan and humiliating him. This is Bentham at his angry best, and these manuscripts are rather entertaining. Manuscripts from Box 123 largely relate to the Penitentiary Act of 1794, and Bentham’s attempts to alter it in the vain attempt to purchase land at Tothill Fields upon which the prison could be built. Many thanks to our colleagues at UCL Creative Media Services for capturing the images, and at the University of London Computer Centre for getting them uploaded.

Speaking of ULCC, this week we said farewell to our friend and TB colleague, Richard Davis, Head of the Academic and Research Technologies group at ULCC. Richard has been a key member of the TB team from the very beginning, and was instrumental in the design and production of the Transcription Desk, and the ongoing success of the initiative. We would like to thank Richard for all his work on TB – we (quite literally) couldn’t have done it without him. Richard leaves to take up a new position next month managing the digital archives and collections at Liverpool John Moores University, and we wish him nothing but the best.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has contributed to TB during the last week. It is as greatly appreciated as always.

Progress update, 26 July to 1 August

By Tim Causer, on 1 August 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 26 July to 1 August 2014, during which time further terrific progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers as they make inroads into the next 10,000 transcripts.

10,195 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 116 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 9,375 (92%) have been checked and subsequently approved by TB staff.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 177 794 22%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 169 290 58%
Box 15 61 914 7%
Box 18 2 192 1%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 15 122 12%
Box 30 0 193 0%
Box 31 14 302 4%
Box 34 34 398 8%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 27 418 6%
Box 37 23 487 4%
Box 38 53 424 12%
Box 39 8 282 2%
Box 41 80 528 13%
Box 42 71 910 7%
Box 44 52 201 25%
Box 50 159 198 79%
Box 51 373 940 39%
Box 57 16 420 3%
Box 62 55 565 9%
Box 63 8 345 2%
Box 70 298 350 85%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 613 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 115 296 38%
Box 98 219 499 43%
Box 100 190 422 42%
Box 107 493 538 91%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 499 864 57%
Box 117 345 853 40%
Box 118 224 880 25%
Box 119 364 990 36%
Box 121 130 526 23%
Box 122 296 717 40%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 201 972 20%
Box 169 180 728 24%
Add MSS 537 599 744 80%
Add MSS 538 407 858 47%
Add MSS 539 402 948 42%
Add MSS 541 136 1258 10%
Overall 10,195 25,667 39%

The rate of transcription continues to amaze us!

Elsewhere, Donelle McKinley, a PhD student in the School of Information Management at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, is researching the theory and practice of crowdsourcing in the cultural heritage domain. As part of her study, she is conducting a brief, online questionnaire, and would particularly welcome the contributions and expertise of TB volunteers. By taking part in the survey, your will help to make a valuable crowdsourcing research and practice.

Thank you, as ever, to everyone who contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last week. It remains as greatly appreciated as ever.