Archive for October, 2012

Progress update, 20 to 26 October 2012

By Tim Causer, on 26 October 2012

Welcome to the progress update for the period 20 to 26 October 2012, during which time further excellent progress has been made.

4,594 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially transcribed, which is up 26 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 4,354 (94%) are complete and locked, which is an increase of 25 on last week’s total.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 348 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (65%)
  • Box 27: 348 of 350 (99%)
  • Box 35: 274 of 439 (62%)
  • Box 50: 89 of 198 (44%)
  • Box 51: 349 of 940 (37%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 180 of 250 (51%)
  • Box 71: 651 of 665 (97%)
  • Box 72: 606 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 106 of 147 (72%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 36 of 288 (12%)
  • Box 98: 15 of 499 (3%)
  • Box 100: 103 of 433 (23%)
  • Box 115: 266 of 307 (86%)
  • Box 116: 255 of 864 (29%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 56% of the 8,164 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Box 116 proved to be the most heavily transcribed during the last seven days.

Thank you, as always, to those who have given their time and effort in contributing to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It remains, as ever, greatly appreciated.

Progress update, 13 to 19 October 2012

By Tim Causer, on 19 October 2012

Welcome to the progress update for the period 13 to 19 October 2012, during which time further good progress has been made.

4,568 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 48 on last week’s total. Of these transcripts, 4,329 (94%) are complete, which is up 43 on this time last week.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 346 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (65%)
  • Box 27: 348 of 350 (99%)
  • Box 35: 274 of 439 (62%)
  • Box 50: 89 of 198 (44%)
  • Box 51: 350 of 940 (37%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 176 of 250 (50%)
  • Box 71: 651 of 665 (97%)
  • Box 72: 606 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 102 of 147 (69%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 36 of 288 (12%)
  • Box 98: 15 of 499 (3%)
  • Box 100: 102 of 433 (23%)
  • Box 115: 266 of 307 (86%)
  • Box 116: 241 of 864 (27%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 55% of the 8,164 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Box 50 proved to be the most heavily transcribed during the past week, with Box 116 not that far behind.

If you find yourself at a loose end and wish to get your toes tapping, why not download a song (recorded in 1967) about Bentham?

Thank you, as ever, to all those who have generously donated their time and effort to Transcribe Bentham during the past seven days. It remains greatly appreciated.

Progress update, 6 to 12 October 2012

By Tim Causer, on 12 October 2012

Welcome to the progress update for the period 6 to 12 October 2012, during which time further excellent progress has been made and the project has reached another milestone.

4,520 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially transcribed, which is an increase of 65 on last week’s total. Of these, 4,286 (94%) are fully complete and have been locked, which is up 62 on this time last week.

We are delighted to be able to say that Transcribe Bentham has reached another landmark, after its 4,500th manuscript was worked on this week. The rate of transcription has increased markedly since the project’s early days, and so these milestones are now more frequent: the chart below provides some idea of the current rate of transcription.

It generally took from thirteen to eighteen weeks to transcribe 500 manuscripts in the early days of the project (the nine-week aberration for going from 501 to 1,000 transcripts was owing to the New York Times article, published in December 2010). Since January 2012, it now generally takes just eight to ten weeks for 500 manuscripts to be worked on. Volunteers have already worked on 2,000 manuscripts this year, at an average rate of 50 per week! This is a terrific amount of work, and we are extremely grateful.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 344 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (64%)
  • Box 27: 348 of 350 (99%)
  • Box 35: 273 of 439 (62%)
  • Box 50: 69 of 92 (75%)
  • Box 51: 349 of 940 (37%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 176 of 250 (50%)
  • Box 71: 651 of 665 (97%)
  • Box 72: 606 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 98 of 147 (66%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 34 of 288 (11%)
  • Box 98: 12 of 499 (2%)
  • Box 100: 99 of 433 (21%)
  • Box 115: 265 of 307 (86%)
  • Box 116: 230 of 864 (26%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 56% of the 8,068 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Box 51 was again the most heavily-transcribed, while Box 50 is moving quickly towards to completion. As yet, no-one has been brave (foolhardy?) enough to attempt the last manuscript in Box 79 (JB/079/047/001) – I certainly value my eyesight too much to have a go right now.

Thanks again to all those who have made suggestions on how to modify and improve the Transcription Desk in order to make the transcription process simpler. We have had some great ideas, and look forward to hearing any more that anyone might have.

Thank you, as ever, to all those who have given their time and effort so generously to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It remains greatly appreciated.

Progress update, 29 September to 5 October 2012

By Tim Causer, on 5 October 2012

Welcome to the progress update for the period 29 September 2012 to 5 October 2012, during which time further steady progress has been made.

4,455 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 43 on last week’s total. Of these, 4,224 (94%) are now complete and locked, which is 39 more than this time last week.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 343 manuscripts transcribed of 532 (64%)
  • Box 27: 348 of 350 (99%)
  • Box 35: 269 of 439 (61%)
  • Box 50: 63 of 92 (68%)
  • Box 51: 311 of 940 (33%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 172 of 250 (49%)
  • Box 71: 651 of 665 (97%)
  • Box 72: 606 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 87 of 147 (59%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 33 of 288 (11%)
  • Box 98: 12 of 499 (2%)
  • Box 100: 99 of 433 (21%)
  • Box 115: 265 of 307 (86%)
  • Box 116: 265 of 864 (26%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 55% of the 8,068 manuscripts uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Box 51 was again the most heavily-transcribed during the past seven days. Box 79 is now all but complete: only JB/079/047/001 remains to be transcribed but, alas, even by Bentham’s standards, it’s an absolute stinker.

As noted in a blog entry earlier this week, as part of the programme funded by our new grant, we are asking volunteers to suggest ways in which they would like to see the Transcription Desk modified in order to make volunteering with the project more straightforward. We have already received a number of extremely helpful comments and ideas from transcribers, and would be delighted to hear from anyone else who might have any suggestions.

This week, we were also delighted to welcome back Anna-Maria Sichani to Transcribe Bentham, who was here on a work placement earlier in the year. Anna-Maria will, amongst other things, help us in converting the Bentham Project’s vast back catalogue of ‘Legacy Transcripts’ from Microsoft Word into TEI XML. This process was started under our original AHRC grant in 2010, but has been in abeyance until now.

We will also soon be updating the project team page with details of all those who will be working on the new programme. Watch this space, as they say.

Thank you, as ever, to all those volunteers who have so generously given their time and effort in participating in Transcribe Bentham during the last week. It remains greatly appreciated.

Help improve Transcribe Bentham

By Tim Causer, on 1 October 2012

From today—as part of a project entitled the Consolidated Bentham Papers RepositoryTranscribe Bentham will be  supported for two years by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Scholarly Communications Programme. A significant part of this work will be to make modifications and improvements to the transcription interface, in order to make the transcription process more straightforward for volunteers. The code for the updated Transcription Desk software will, like its first iteration, be made available on an open-source basis for others to re-use and customise to meet their own needs.

Through a survey carried last year (the results of which will soon be published in Digital Humanities Quarterly), volunteers have already given us a few ideas for alterations which they would like to see made. These include:

  • Changes to the way the markup is added. Responses to the survey indicate that adding of XML tags was a significant issue, and may have dissuaded some from participating. though the Transcription Toolbar was designed to make adding markup as easy as possible, markup was regarded by more than a few respondents as an extra complication when trying to decipher Bentham’s handwriting (which is, after all, the purpose of Transcribe Bentham). One solution is to introduce, as an alternative, a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get interface, so that transcribing will be like typing in a word-processor. In this scenario, the transcription toolbar would be done away with, and transcribers would not have to concern themselves with visible markup at all. Volunteers would—just by way of example, these are not set in stone—indicate a line break simply by hitting return, a paragraph by pressing return twice, and indicate underlinings or deletions by selecting the portion of text, pressing a button, and the underlining/deletion would be rendered while typing. The XML tags would thus remain behind the scenes and would not clutter the transcript.
  • A more flexible image viewer. The current interface, where the image is alongside the text box where the transcript is entered, was also seen as problematic. We will aim to introduce a more flexible image viewer (image box above text box? A floating image window? a resizable image window?). A floating transcription toolbar would also prevent constant scrolling up and down.
  • Distinguishing between locked and fresh material. It is also clear from volunteer responses that we need to make it easier to distinguish between complete and locked, partially transcribed, and untranscribed manuscripts. While we have introduced lists (e.g. the untranscribed manuscript list) and they have their uses, these have to be updated manually and—owing to human error—are not always fully accurate. We will look to introduce some form of automated system to tell the different types of manuscript apart (some form of colour coding?)

Sadly, we can’t do anything about the state of Bentham’s handwriting, and/or composition! Changes which would be made are all about making life easier for transcribers, so this will be very much evolution rather than revolution. Volunteers will be invited to test out any alterations made to the interface.

These are just a few of the ideas we have gleaned from volunteer suggestions, but we are keen to hear more (crowdsourcing inspiration, if you will). We would love to hear from interested onlookers, as well as those who have had hands-on experience with the transcription interface. What alterations would you like to see made to the Transcription Desk, or would you recommend be made? If you are a volunteer transcriber, what changes would be most beneficial to you?

We would like to hear any ideas which you might have. You can leave comments here on the blog, in the Transcription Desk’s discussion forum, or we would be delighted to hear from you via email. Alternatively, you can leave your suggestions anonymously on this survey.

We look forward to hearing from you, and do let us know if you have any questions!