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Welcome to Transcribe Bentham!

By Louise Seaward, on 6 December 2017

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a double award-winning collaborative initiative which is crowdsourcing the transcription of Bentham’s previously unpublished manuscripts.

Anyone can start transcribing at our Transcription Desk.  Your transcripts will contribute to the production of Bentham’s Collected Works and preserve Bentham’s writings into the future.

Find out more about Transcribe Bentham in the sidebar menu on the left, or scroll down to read the latest news from the Transcribe Bentham blog.  Happy transcribing!

Transcription update – 18 August to 14 September 2018

By Louise Seaward, on 14 September 2018

It’s September already and we’re just starting our ninth year of transcribing Bentham!  We owe an enormous thank you to all our volunteers for their transcription efforts.  Let’s see what they’ve been up to lately…

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 14 September 2018.

20,822 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 19,968 (95%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 143 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 36 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!

Project update – volunteers credited for first time in Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham!

By Louise Seaward, on 6 September 2018

It’s hard to believe it but September marks the 8th birthday of Transcribe Bentham!  And we have something else to celebrate this month too…

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that a large number of volunteers will be credited for the first time in the latest volumes due to be published by the Bentham Project.

Since the initiative began in September 2010, Transcribe Bentham volunteers have put an enormous amount of effort into transcribing Bentham’s writings and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

The thousands upon thousands of volunteer transcripts constitute a unique online resource but they also feed directly into the work of Bentham Project researchers who are editing Bentham’s writings for publication as The Collected Works of Jeremy BenthamTranscripts produced by volunteers mean that researchers do not have to transcribe everything from scratch – they have an accurate first draft for further editing.  The accuracy and efficency of volunteer transcription is discussed further in our latest article published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities and written by Tim Causer, Kris Grint, Anna-Maria Sichani and Melissa Terras.

Pre-publication volumes of two volumes of Bentham’s Collected Works are now available in open access, in advance of their forthcoming publication by Oxford University Press.

11 volunteers have been credited in Writings on Political Economy, vol. III (see p. viii of the ‘Editorial Introduction’).

34 volunteers have been credited in Writings on Australia (see the ‘Editorial Introductions’ to ‘History of Jeremy Bentham’s dealings with Lord Pelham’, p. v; ‘Letter to Lord Pelham’, p. viii; ‘Second Letter to Lord Pelham’, pp. vi-vii; ‘Third Letter to Lord Pelham’, p. vi; and ‘A Plea for the Constitution’, p. ix).

Both volumes can be consulted freely online and will interest anyone intrigued by Bentham’s ideas on economics, crime and colonies.

Writings on Political Economy, vol. III contains some of Bentham’s drafts from the later 1790s relating to the reform of the policing of the River Thames and the establishment of a Board of Police in London to administer a licensing system for the sale of second hand goods.

Writings on Australia consists of seven texts, four of which are made available for the first time. Six of the texts are intimately connected to Bentham’s attempt to persuade the British government to build his panopticon penitentiary. They include the ‘Letters to Lord Pelham’ and ‘A Plea for the Constitution’, which were highly influential philosophical and legal critiques of convict transportation and the New South Wales penal colony, and were tools by which, in 1802-3, Bentham hoped to force the government to proceed with the establishment of the panopticon.

The seventh text, ‘Colonization Company Proposal’, which was written in 1831, effectively constitutes Bentham’s commentary on the National Colonization Society’s Proposal to His Majesty’s Government for Founding a Colony on the Southern Coast of Australia.

‘A Direct South View of the Town of Sydney taken from the brow of the hill leading to the flag staff’, from ‘Account of the English Colony of New South Wales’ by David Collins, on which Bentham drew extensively when writing on Australia in 1802-3.

 

We hope our volunteers are suitably proud to see their name in lights.  Transcribe Bentham would be nothing without their enthusiasm and diligence and we are truly thankful.  Their contribution to The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham really shows how crowdsourcing can make a meaningful connection between academia and the general public.

If you would like the chance to be credited in a future volume of Bentham’s writings, sign up for an account at our Transcription Desk and start transcribing!

Transcription update – 21 July to 17 August 2018

By Louise Seaward, on 28 August 2018

It’s time to take stock of the past month and see how our transcribers have been doing.  Transcription continues apace and we are ever grateful to our diligent transcribers for their hard work.  Our average weekly transcription rate is up 10 pages, which is pleasing to see!

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 17 August 2018.

20,679 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 19,772 (95%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 156 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 39 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!

Project update – the challenge continues!

By Louise Seaward, on 20 August 2018

Last month, I set a new challenge for our volunteer transcribers.  Could we focus attention on certain boxes to try to get them completely transcribed?

Happily, our volunteers rose to the challenge and set about transcribing.  I’m here to give a progress update and to invite everyone to continue transcribing so we can build on our first milestone.

The transcription challenge brought lots of new visitors to the site, tempted several new transcribers to start work and encouraged several old friends to join back in.  This is exactly what we like to see!

As shown in the below table, at last count volunteers have transcribed 63 pages of the targeted material.  Thank you all!

Box Number
No. of pages transcribed
14 3
50 15
70 21
72 4
95 6
537 and 538 14
TOTAL 63

 

Most of the 63 pages are completely transcribed; some are still awaiting review from the Transcribe Bentham administrators.  Having worked with many of our volunteers for years, we are confident that these transcripts are of a high standard.

Let’s keep the transcription challenge going and see how far we can get.  Outstanding material can be found in the below tables – there are still pages from Boxes 50, 70, 72, 95, 537 and 538 to be transcribed. Box 14 is now very nearly complete.  The only remaining pages are written in shorthand, which cannot be transcribed in full in our current system.

I know that many of these pages are rather difficult – but hopefully transcribers will be able to work on a page here and there, alongside their usual material.

I am also hard at work preparing our next transcription challenge, which will be centred on material that is likely to be of more immediate use to researchers at the Bentham Project.

As ever, I am amazed by everyone’s efforts and I look forward to seeing how transcription progresses.  If you have any questions or comments about the challenge, please let me know by email (transcribe.bentham@ucl.ac.uk).

Box 50

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting Foreign language?
 JB/050/174/001  Legal procedure (table form)  Difficult  French

Box 70

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 JB/070/149/001 Laws in general  Moderate  Latin?
JB/070/234/001 Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/237/001  Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/238/001  Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/245/001  Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/246/001  Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/247/001  Larceny  Difficult
 JB/070/249/001  Larceny Difficult
 JB/070/252/002  Larceny Difficult
 JB/070/255/001  Larceny Difficult
 JB/070/256/002  Larceny Difficult
 JB/070/261/001  Larceny Difficult

Box 72

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 JB/072/004/001  Offences against person (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/006/001  Offences against person (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/006/002  Offences against person (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/007/001  Offences against property (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/007/002  Offences against property (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/008/001  Offences against property (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/008/002  Offences against property (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/009/001  Penal code (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/010/001  Offences against revenue (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/010/002   Offences against revenue (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/011/001  Offences against trade (table form)  Moderate
 JB/072/012/001  Offences against morality (table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/014/001  Offences against public property (short table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/016/001  Offences against government (table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/016/002  Offences against government (table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/018/001  Offences against national peace (short table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/019/001  Offences against the coin (table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/090/001  Offences against property (table form)   Moderate
 JB/072/106/002  Penal code   Moderate
 JB/072/183/002  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/183/003  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/183/004  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/184/001  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/186/001  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/215/001  Penal code (table form)  Difficult  French
 JB/072/216/001  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/216/002  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/216/003  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/216/004  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/217/001  Penal code  Difficult  French
 JB/072/219/001  Penal code  Moderate  French
 JB/072/219/002  Penal code  Moderate  French
 JB/072/220/001  Penal code  Moderate  French
 JB/072/220/002  Penal code  Moderate  French
 JB/072/220/003  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/220/004  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/221/001  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/221/002  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/221/003  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/221/004  Penal code   Moderate  French
 JB/072/222/001  Penal code   Moderate  French

Box 95

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 JB/095/050/001  Turnpike act (table form)  Difficult
 JB/095/059/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/060/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/071/002  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/077/002  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/079/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/079/002  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/096/001  Turnpike act  Moderate
 JB/095/097/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/105/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/109/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/110/001  Turnpike act  Difficult
 JB/095/112/004  Turnpike act  Difficult

Boxes 537 and 538

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 JB/537/363/002  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
 JB/537/364/001  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
 JB/537/364/002  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
JB/537/365/001  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
 JB/538/412/001  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Moderate  French
 JB/538/412/002  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Moderate  French

 

Transcription Update – 23 June to 20 July 2018

By Louise Seaward, on 26 July 2018

Hello there.  We’re here with our latest transcription update.  As ever, we’re counting up how many pages volunteers have transcribed over the past month. There’s been a flurry of recent activity as new and existing volunteers have been taking part in our Transcription Challenge – why not have a go yourself to help us to complete the transcription of a few boxes of Bentham’s writings?

We need to take this moment to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributes to Transcribe Bentham.

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 20 July 2018.

20,523 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 19,577 (95%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 94 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 24 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!