Archive for November, 2011

Progress update, 19 to 25 November 2011

By Tim Causer, on 25 November 2011

Welcome to the progress update for the period 19 to 25 November 2011, during which excellent progress continues to be made.

2,248 manuscripts have now been transcribed, an increase of 41 on last week’s total. Of these, 1,987 (88%) are now complete and locked, up 40 on last week. During the next week we should be able to lock our 2,000th transcript, and we are well on course for having 2,500 manuscripts transcribed by Christmas.

The state of play for each box is as follows:

  • Box 2: 236 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (44%)
  • Box 27: 238 of 350 (68%)
  • Box 35: 226 of 439 (51%)
  • Box 50: 40 of 92 (43%)
  • Box 51: 38 of 940 (4%)
  • Box 62: 25 of 565 (4%)
  • Box 70: 160 of 250 (45%)
  • Box 71: 271 of 665 (40%)
  • Box 72: 123 of 664 (18%)
  • Box 73: 119 of 156 (76%)
  • Box 79: 63 of 199 (31%)
  • Box 95: 44 of 147 (30%)
  • Box 96: 391 of 539 (72%)
  • Box 97: 10 of 288 (3%)
  • Box 115: 226 of 307 (73%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 40% of the 5,580 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Most boxes of material saw some transcription this week, with 71 and 96 seeing the greatest increases; Box 96, in particular, is racing towards completion.

We often talk of, say, 50 many manuscripts being transcribed in the course of week, which on the face of it sounds reasonably impressive. However, to those not participating in or administering the project, this figure could seem nebulous and imprecise. To provide a better idea of what this really means, we thought we would share a couple of graphs by way of illustration.

The first chart shows the overall progress of the project, measured in the estimated number of words transcribed by volunteers. Measuring the length of Bentham manuscripts is a far from precise science; some are merely a couple of words long, others several hundred, while many contain up to 2,000 words. Box 96, for instance, contains some of the longest and most complex manuscripts uploaded to the Transcription Desk thus far.

This chart plots both a lower and very conservative estimate of an average of 250 words per transcript (in red), and an upper estimate of 750 (in blue). Transcribe Bentham has, then, on the current lower estimate, seen 562,000 words transcribed, and 1,686,000 words according to the upper estimate. As ever with these things, the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle, though probably towards the upper limit.

Chart 1: Overall progress of Transcribe Bentham, measured in words transcribed by volunteers.

The second chart examines progress on a weekly basis, also measured in words and on the same estimates as the first chart. Again, the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between the two coloured lines, but either way it is clear that Transcribe Bentham volunteers are transcribing thousands of words every week. The huge increase in transcription around the turn of 2010 was due to publicity following publication of the New York Times article last year.

Chart 2: Weekly progress of Transcribe Bentham, measured in words transcribed by volunteers

It should be noted that these graphs only take into account the text of the manuscripts, and not the often extensive markup which volunteers also add to their transcripts. We hope that they provide a more accurate and interesting measure of the project, and of the sterling work done – and being done – by volunteers.

Thanks, as ever, to all those who have taken part in the project during the last week, and for your contributions to Transcribe Bentham‘s ongoing success.

Progress update, 12 to 18 November 2011

By Tim Causer, on 18 November 2011

Welcome to the progress update for 12 to 18 November 2011, during which excellent progress has been made. 2,207 manuscripts have now been transcribed, an increase of 34 on last week’s total. Of these, 1,947 (or 88%) are now complete and locked, up 30 from last week.

This constitutes fantastic work by Transcribe Bentham volunteers. Since we launched to the public on 8 September 2010, volunteers have transcribed an average of 34 manuscripts per week. However, since mid-September 2011, the transcription rate has been at 44 manuscripts per week . Long may this continue!

The state of play for each box is as follows:

  • Box 2: 230 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (43%)
  • Box 27: 238 of 350 (68%)
  • Box 35: 226 of 439 (51%)
  • Box 50: 39 of 92 (42%)
  • Box 51: 38 of 940 (4%)
  • Box 62: 24 of 565 (4%)
  • Box 70: 160 of 250 (45%)
  • Box 71: 255 of 665 (38%)
  • Box 72: 122 of 664 (18%)
  • Box 73: 118 of 156 (75%)
  • Box 79: 62 of 199 (31%)
  • Box 95: 44 of 147 (30%)
  • Box 96: 380 of 539 (70%)
  • Box 97: 7 of 288 (2%)
  • Box 115: 226 of 307 (73%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 39% of the 5,580 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Boxes 2 and 96 again saw the greatest increase, with a further 3% of their manuscripts being transcribed this week. This is particularly impressive when considering that many of the Box 96 manuscripts are up to a couple of thousand words long, and complicated to a great extent by Bentham’s additions, deletions, and idiosyncratic notation system.

Once again, sincere thanks to all who have taken part during the last seven days. Your contributions to Transcribe Bentham‘s ongoing success is very much appreciated.

Progress update, 5 to 11 November 2011

By Tim Causer, on 14 November 2011

Welcome to the progress update for the period to 11 November 2011. Before we begin, many apologies for the belated appearance of this update, and in editing last week’s submissions – this was due to both unforeseen circumstances, and my attendance at a seminar on public engagement with archival collections at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth (a lovely part of the world). We’re now back on an even keel!

2,173 manuscripts have now been transcribed, up 28 on last week – a slightly slower week than lately, but given the rate of transcription during the past couple of months it can only be expected! Of these, 1,917 (88%) are complete and locked, an increase of 27 on last week’s total. We are closing in our next landmark, that of being able to lock our 2,000th completed transcript – this should be achieved sometime by late November, all being well.

The state of play for each box is as follows:

  • Box 2: 217 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (40%)
  • Box 27: 237 of 350 (67%)
  • Box 35: 226 of 439 (51%)
  • Box 50: 39 of 92 (42%)
  • Box 51: 37 of 940 (4%)
  • Box 62: 24 of 565 (4%)
  • Box 70: 160 of 250 (45%)
  • Box 71: 254 of 665 (38%)
  • Box 72: 121 of 664 (18%)
  • Box 73: 118 of 156 (75%)
  • Box 79: 62 of 199 (31%)
  • Box 95: 44 of 147 (30%)
  • Box 96: 364 of 539 (67%)
  • Box 97: 6 of 288 (2%)
  • Box 115: 226 of 307 (73%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 38% of the 5,580 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Boxes 2 and 96 saw the most activity during this week, with 2% of manuscripts from each being transcribed – terrific stuff. Bentham’s Auto-Icon is pulling in the visitors to his newly-refurbished surroundings, with the touch-screen being of particular interest. We hope to be able to show off some high-resolution photographs shortly.

Jeremy himself keeps a blog where he discusses topics as varied as happiness, the laws of robotics, the display of dead bodies (a topic close to his own heart), and convict transportation. His latest missive is clarifying a few misapprehensions regarding his opinions on animal welfare, which you can read here.

Many thanks, as ever, to all those who have taken part during the past week. Your contributions to Transcribe Bentham‘s ongoing success are greatly appreciated.

Progress update, 29 October to 4 November

By Tim Causer, on 4 November 2011

Welcome to the progress update for the period 29 October to 4 November 2011, during which rapid progress continues to be made.

2,145 manuscripts have now been transcribed, up 53 on last week; this is, at the very least, 536,000 words (plus all of the encoding). Remarkable stuff. Of these, 1,890 (88%) are now complete and locked to prevent further editing, an increase of 47 on last week’s total.

The state of progress for each box is as follows:

  • Box 2: 204 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (38%)
  • Box 27: 237 of 350 (67%)
  • Box 35: 226 of 439 (51%)
  • Box 50: 39 of 92 (42%)
  • Box 51: 37 of 940 (4%)
  • Box 62: 24 of 565 (4%)
  • Box 70: 160 of 250 (45%)
  • Box 71: 252 of 665 (38%)
  • Box 72: 121 of 664 (18%)
  • Box 73: 118 of 156 (75%)
  • Box 79: 61 of 199 (30%)
  • Box 95: 44 of 147 (30%)
  • Box 96: 352 of 539 (65%)
  • Box 97: 6 of 288 (2%)
  • Box 115: 226 of 307 (73%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 38% of the 5,580 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Boxes 71 and 96 saw the most activity this week, with 4% and 3% of their respective manuscripts being transcribed in the last seven days. As noted on the Facebook page earlier this week, Bentham Project staff are working on Bentham’s economic writings for a forthcoming volume of the Collected Works; much of this material is contained within Box 2, and if volunteers are able, amongst their transcribing, to have a look at the odd manuscript from this box it would be very much appreciated.

There was much excitement this week, as Bentham’s Auto-Icon was removed from its cabinet as part of renovation works here at UCL (and carrying it around ranks as one of my more bizarre experiences). Bentham’s box has now been cleaned, polished and had new lighting installed so that visitors can have a better look at the man himself. Other improvements to the area include a new graphic panel with some information about Bentham’s life, and a touch-screen computer on which visitors can find out much more about the man and his thought. There are a few photographs available on the Transcribe Bentham Facebook page

While out of his box, some wonderful photographs of Bentham have been taken by Tony Slade of UCL Learning and Media Services, which we will soon be able to show you. We recommend that you also keep an eye on the UCL Museums and Collections website. All of the plaudits for this very successful renovation should go to Sussanah Chan, Rosemary Clements, Sally MacDonald, and Claire Ross, Alejandro Giacometti, and Steven Gray for programming the touchscreen.

Thanks, as ever, to all those who have generously given their time and efforts during the last week – it is hugely appreciated.