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collaborative transcription initiative, which is digitising and making available digital images of Bentham’s unpublished manuscripts through a platform known as the ‘Transcription Desk‘.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, 16 to 22 May 2015

By Tim Causer, on 22 May 2015

Welcome along to the Transcribe Bentham progress update for the period 16 to 22 May 2015, during which time further excellent progress has been made by volunteer transcribers.

13,072 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 52 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 12,044 (92%) have been checked and accepted 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 1 253 794 32%
Box 2 472 753 62%
Box 4 2 694 1%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 3 167 1%
Box 8 6 284 2%
Box 9 41 266 15%
Box 15 79 914 10%
Box 18 4 192 2%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 2 193 1%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 34 40 398 10%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 34 418 8%
Box 37 32 487 6%
Box 38 113 424 27%
Box 39 12 282 4%
Box 41 87 528 14%
Box 42 88 910 9%
Box 44 53 201 26%
Box 50 171 198 85%
Box 51 385 940 40%
Box 57 18 420 4%
Box 62 67 565 11%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 306 350 87%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 139 296 46%
Box 98 222 499 44%
Box 100 194 422 43%
Box 106 112 581 19%
Box 107 502 538 93%
Box 110 7 671 1%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 506 864 58%
Box 117 365 853 42%
Box 118 255 880 28%
Box 119 535 990 54%
Box 120 29 686 4%
Box 121 134 526 24%
Box 122 304 717 41%
Box 123 42 443 9%
Box 124 15 383 3%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 4 381 1%
Box 149 5 581 1%
Box 150 875 972 90%
Box 169 193 728 26%
Add MS 537 730 744 98%
Add MS 538 752 858 87%
Add MS 539 834 948 87%
Add MS 540 67 1012 6%
Add MS 541 348 1258 27%
Overall 13,072 31,560 40%

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

 

Progress update, 9 to 15 May 2015

By Tim Causer, on 15 May 2015

Welcome along to the Transcribe Bentham progress update for the period 9 to 15 May 2015, during which time further excellent progress has been made by volunteer transcribers.

13,020 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 43 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 12,008 (92%) have been checked and approved by TB staff. This is a doubly-amazing achievement on the part of volunteer transcribers: not only have they broken through the 13,000th transcript mark, but that such a high proportion of their work continues to be approved is a real testament to the quality of their efforts.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 253 794 32%
Box 2 472 753 62%
Box 4 2 694 1%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 3 167 1%
Box 8 6 284 2%
Box 9 41 266 15%
Box 15 79 914 10%
Box 18 4 192 2%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 2 193 1%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 34 40 398 10%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 34 418 8%
Box 37 32 487 6%
Box 38 112 424 27%
Box 39 12 282 4%
Box 41 87 528 14%
Box 42 88 910 9%
Box 44 53 201 26%
Box 50 171 198 85%
Box 51 385 940 40%
Box 57 18 420 4%
Box 62 67 565 11%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 306 350 87%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 139 296 46%
Box 98 222 499 44%
Box 100 194 422 43%
Box 106 111 581 19%
Box 107 502 538 93%
Box 110 7 671 1%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 506 864 58%
Box 117 365 853 42%
Box 118 255 880 28%
Box 119 535 990 54%
Box 120 29 686 4%
Box 121 134 526 24%
Box 122 304 717 41%
Box 123 42 443 9%
Box 124 15 383 3%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 4 381 1%
Box 149 5 581 1%
Box 150 848 972 87%
Box 169 193 728 26%
Add MS 537 730 744 98%
Add MS 538 746 858 86%
Add MS 539 834 948 87%
Add MS 540 67 1012 6%
Add MS 541 331 1258 26%
Overall 13,020 31,560 40%

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has taken part in Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. Your continued contributions to the success of the project are as highly appreciated as ever.

 

 

Progress update, 2 to 8 May 2015

By Tim Causer, on 8 May 2015

Welcome along to the Transcribe Bentham progress update for the period 2 to 8 May 2015, during which time further steady progress has been made by volunteer transcribers.

12,977 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, up 31 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 11,978 (92%) have been checked and approved. All being well, by this time next week the 13,000th transcript should have been worked on, and we will have checked and approved our 12,00th!

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 252 794 31%
Box 2 471 753 62%
Box 4 2 694 1%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 3 167 1%
Box 8 6 284 2%
Box 9 41 266 15%
Box 15 78 914 10%
Box 18 4 192 2%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 2 193 1%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 34 40 398 10%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 34 418 8%
Box 37 32 487 6%
Box 38 110 424 25%
Box 39 12 282 4%
Box 41 87 528 14%
Box 42 88 910 9%
Box 44 53 201 26%
Box 50 171 198 85%
Box 51 385 940 40%
Box 57 18 420 4%
Box 62 67 565 11%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 306 350 87%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 138 296 46%
Box 98 222 499 44%
Box 100 194 422 43%
Box 106 109 581 18%
Box 107 502 538 93%
Box 110 7 671 1%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 506 864 58%
Box 117 365 853 42%
Box 118 255 880 28%
Box 119 535 990 54%
Box 120 29 686 4%
Box 121 134 526 24%
Box 122 304 717 41%
Box 123 42 443 9%
Box 124 15 383 3%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 4 381 1%
Box 149 5 581 1%
Box 150 823 972 84%
Box 169 193 728 26%
Add MS 537 730 744 98%
Add MS 538 737 858 85%
Add MS 539 834 948 87%
Add MS 540 67 1012 6%
Add MS 541 330 1258 26%
Overall 12,977 31,560 40%

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, 25 April to 1 May 2015

By Tim Causer, on 1 May 2015

Welcome to the progress update for the period 25 April to 1 May 2015, during which time further steady progress has been made by Transcribe Bentham volunteers.

12,946 manuscripts have now been transcribed, which is an increase of 21 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 11,930 (92%) have been checked and 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 1 252 794 31%
Box 2 471 753 62%
Box 4 2 694 1%
Box 5 200 290 68%
Box 7 3 167 1%
Box 8 6 284 2%
Box 9 41 266 15%
Box 15 78 914 10%
Box 18 4 192 2%
Box 27 350 350 COMPLETE
Box 29 22 122 18%
Box 30 2 193 1%
Box 31 19 302 6%
Box 34 40 398 10%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 34 418 8%
Box 37 32 487 6%
Box 38 110 424 25%
Box 39 12 282 4%
Box 41 87 528 14%
Box 42 88 910 9%
Box 44 53 201 26%
Box 50 171 198 85%
Box 51 385 940 40%
Box 57 18 420 4%
Box 62 67 565 11%
Box 63 155 345 44%
Box 70 306 350 87%
Box 71 663 663 COMPLETE
Box 72 614 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 COMPLETE
Box 79 199 199 COMPLETE
Box 95 126 147 85%
Box 96 534 539 99%
Box 97 138 296 46%
Box 98 222 499 44%
Box 100 194 422 43%
Box 106 108 581 18%
Box 107 502 538 93%
Box 110 7 671 1%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 506 864 58%
Box 117 365 853 42%
Box 118 255 880 28%
Box 119 535 990 54%
Box 120 29 686 4%
Box 121 134 526 24%
Box 122 304 717 41%
Box 123 42 443 9%
Box 124 15 383 3%
Box 139 40 40 COMPLETE
Box 141 4 381 1%
Box 149 5 581 1%
Box 150 795 972 81%
Box 169 193 728 26%
Add MS 537 730 744 98%
Add MS 538 735 858 85%
Add MS 539 834 948 87%
Add MS 540 67 1012 6%
Add MS 541 330 1258 26%
Overall 12,426 31,767 40%

Volunteers might be interested to read Dr Michael Quinn’s update on how transcripts from Box 150 are assisting his editing of a volume of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

And in tangentially-related news, at 7pm on Tuesday 5 May, BBC2 will be showing an episode of Coast Australia showcasing the remote, beautiful Norfolk Island. The episode includes a segment on the Island’s history as a penal settlement, featuring Dr Tim Causer of this parish.

Thank you, as ever, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It is as greatly appreciated as ever.

 

 

Box 150: monthly update from Dr Michael Quinn

By Tim Causer, on 29 April 2015

Below is an update from Dr Michael Quinn, on how your transcripts of Box 150 manuscripts are helping in his editing of a volume of Bentham’s Collected Works.

——————-

My esteemed special constables,

I am delighted to report that we now have a corrected transcript of the complete text of Bentham’s Police Bill, and that work on editing it has commenced. Between ourselves, it’s not JB at his most fluent, but, given his laceration of the drafting of legislation previous to his entry upon the task, it is fascinating to see him attempting to instill the virtues of cognoscibility and clarity without making such revolutionary changes to the rules of Parliamentary draughtsmanship that the people he needs to convince will simply not recognize it as a draft Bill.

Even when limited by these constraints, Bentham reveals some aspects of his thought which are currently causing some ripple in the Bentham studies pond. Thus, one interesting question concerns the degree to which Bentham seeks to manipulate public opinion rather than convince it by strict rational argumentation. Here he is at UC cl. 279v (or JB/150/279/002 as is on TB) transcribed by volunteer Mary Foutz, musing on the possibility that the Police Gazette envisaged by the Bill, a government publication disseminating information on the incidence of crime and the pursuit of offenders, a sort of ‘Crime Watch monthly’, might also help with the unconscious formation of opinion. The emphasis is added:

 

            ‘But the sort of Sermon which might be practised, and practised without ceasing in the Police Gazette, this unannounced and unsuspected Sermon, cautiously, sparingly, and in a manner imperceptibly though at the same time unremittingly insinuated into a publication composed principally and to appearance exclusively of that sort of matter which, so long as man is man, can never lose or so much as relax its hold upon the affections—especially of those otherwise untutored minds, for whose direction it is more especially designed—there would be neither end nor limit to its influence.’

‘Unannounced and unsuspected’, ‘imperceptibly’, ‘insinuated’? Definitely issues for ‘Transparency Bentham’ there.

I have now begun checking the transcripts for Bentham’s ‘Observations’ on the Bill, in which I hope the lifting of the stylistic constraints mentioned above will liberate his pen. The signs are encouraging: already (UC cl. 434, or JB/150/434/001 as is on TB , transcribed by volunteer Keith Thompson) Bentham has contrasted ‘abstract utility’ with ‘precedent’, which got me quite excited (sad, I know!). Keep up the good work!

More soon,

Michael