Archive for March, 2013

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collaborative transcription initiative, which is digitising and making available digital images of Bentham’s unpublished manuscripts through a platform known as the ‘Transcription Desk‘.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

UCL closure: 27 March to 3 April 2013

By Tim Causer, on 26 March 2013

UCL closes for its Easter break at 5pm on Wednesday 27 March, and will re-open on Wednesday 3 April. During this period, the Transcription Desk will remain fully available, as usual, though it will be largely unstaffed during this period.

Any submissions received after 28 March may not be checked until UCL re-opens, and normal service is resumed; we apologise in advance for any inconvenience which this may cause. The next progress update will be issued on Friday 5 April.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham, our Facebook and Twitter followers, and readers of the project blog for their support, efforts and interest. We hope that you all have a good break, and will see you very soon.

Progress update, 16 to 22 March 2013, and this week’s finds

By Tim Causer, on 22 March 2013

Welcome to the progress update for the period 16 to 22 March, during which time further excellent progress has been made: 19,530 words (including TEI mark-up) have been transcribed during the past seven days.

5,273 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 38 on last week’s total. Of these transcripts, 4,999 (94%) are complete – nearly there!

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 394 manuscripts transcribed of 753 (52%)
  • Box 27: 350 of 350 (100%)
  • Box 35: 279 of 439 (63%)
  • Box 50: 135 of 198 (67%)
  • Box 51: 358 of 940 (38%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 257 of 350 (73%)
  • Box 71: 663 of 663 (100%)
  • Box 72: 608 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 120 of 147 (81%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 52 of 296 (17%)
  • Box 98: 212 of 499 (42%)
  • Box 100: 146 of 422 (33%)
  • Box107:  93 of 538 (17%)
  • Box 115: 275 of 307 (89%)
  • Box 116: 365 of 864 (42%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 59% of the 8,925 manuscripts currently uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Volunteers have again made a number of interesting finds among the material. Joy Lloyd has transcribed more of the panopticon manuscripts from Box 107: ‘The Sotimion, or Establishment for the preservation of Female delicacy and reputation‘, was situated just down the road from the ‘Nothotrophium, or Asylum for the innocent offspring of clandestine forbidden love’. In the vast panopticon area, Bentham even envisaged a ‘Panopticon-Hill Tavern’, to entertain visitors to both the panopticon penitentiary and the Sotimion. Convicts would maintain the connecting roads and tend to the flower verges, and a ‘fish-pond’  with ‘the water-lily and other beautiful aquatics’ would be another attraction. There would be ‘Fountains of Beer Punch & Wine worked with compressed Air’ for ‘entertainment of the populace’, and Bentham also described how visitors would be admitted to the Sotimion.

In another manuscript transcribed by Joy, it appears that the Sotimion would have had a coffee-room, from which any woman could be black-balled, and the Panopticon complex would have its own burial ground.

Elsewhere, in quite a topical few manuscripts, Peter Hollis transcribed Bentham’s ‘leading principles’ of newspapers. These included ‘Universality, Authenticity, Impartiality, Decency’, and that any newly established daily newspaper should ‘be perfectly independent of all parties, and [be] strictly impartial’, and that ‘all profligacy, personal abuse, and scurrility should be rigorously excluded’. Perhaps Bentham would have made a useful witness for Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press standards…

Lea Stern continues to transcribe nuggets of gold about Bentham’s views on transporting convicts to New South Wales, and Keith Thompson has worked on manuscripts relating to Bentham’s plans for a ‘School of Legislation’.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has given their time to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It remains greatly appreciated by us all.

 

 

perhaps news to those witnesses who gave evidence to Lord Justice Leveson last year.

Bake it like Bentham

By Tim Causer, on 15 March 2013

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

Adding 1d (and more) of labour

As regular followers of the Transcribe Bentham Facebook and Twitter accounts will know, volunteers have recently been transcribing a series of recipes compiled (presumably by Bentham) for the panopticon prison kitchen.

As part of the Journal of Victorian Culture‘s historical bake-off competition, I recently had a go at producing Bentham’s recipe for ‘baked apple pudding’, with mixed results (though I’m glad to say that no-one at the Bentham Project was poisoned as a result of tasting it). You can read about this attempt at the JVC website.

Below, you will find links to all of the manuscripts containing Bentham’s cooking tips and recipes. Should you feel suitably inspired to make something yourself, we would be delighted to host your account of it and any pictures here on the Transcribe Bentham blog – just drop us an email!

General cooking directions

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/109/002

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/109/003

Recipes

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/110/001

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/110/002

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/111/002

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/111/003

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/112/002

http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/JB/107/112/003

Progress update, 9 to 15 March 2013, and this week’s finds

By Tim Causer, on 15 March 2013

Welcome to the progress update for the period 9 to 15 March 2013, during which time excellent progress continues to be made: 29,505 words (including TEI mark-up) have been transcribed this week. Volunteers have made some great finds this week, more of which later.

5,243 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is 38 up on last week’s total. Of these transcripts, 4,975 (94%) are complete and locked, an increase of 47 on this time last week. We should lock our 5,000th transcript at some point next week!

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

  • Box 2: 390 manuscripts transcribed of 753 (51%)
  • Box 27: 350 of 350 (100%)
  • Box 35: 279 of 439 (63%)
  • Box 50: 134 of 198 (67%)
  • Box 51: 358 of 940 (38%)
  • Box 62: 53 of 565 (9%)
  • Box 70: 257 of 350 (73%)
  • Box 71: 663 of 663 (100%)
  • Box 72: 608 of 664 (91%)
  • Box 73: 151 of 151 (100%)
  • Box 79: 198 of 199 (99%)
  • Box 95: 119 of 147 (80%)
  • Box 96: 526 of 539 (97%)
  • Box 97: 52 of 296 (17%)
  • Box 98: 212 of 499 (42%)
  • Box 100: 145 of 422 (32%)
  • Box107:  76 of 538 (14%)
  • Box 115: 275 of 307 (89%)
  • Box 116: 359 of 864 (40%)
  • Box 139: 38 of 38 (100%)
  • Overall: 58% of the 8,925 manuscripts currently uploaded to the website have been transcribed thus far.

Box 107 has been the most heavily transcribed during the last week, and little wonder – it contains some really interesting panopticon-related material.

For example, volunteers Chris Leeder and Melissa Rogers transcribed more of Bentham’s panopticon kitchen recipes, including those for ‘turnip pudding’, ‘stewed pease’, and ‘mushroom catchup [sic]‘. You can also read about my attempt to produce Bentham’s ‘baked apple pudding’, as part of the Journal of Victorian Culture‘s historical bake-off competition.

Bentham's baked apple pudding. Delicious.

Bentham’s baked apple pudding. Delicious.

 

Volunteer Joy Lloyd has transcribed several manuscripts on Bentham’s panoptic institution for women, or what he called the ‘Sotimion’. These include the various rules and regulations for the establishment, inducements to the women for the ‘preservation of their delicacy’, their ‘amusements’, including ‘poultry to tend’, ‘chess’, and a tantalising mention of something called a ‘Panopticon Music Barge’. Elsewhere, Bentham sets out the design of a chair for the comfort of heavily pregnant women,  suggests that the women would be able to row boats along the nearby canals, and describes what he calls ‘Russian Flying Chariots’ or the ‘Panopticon Flying Car’, which would act as a ride and a glorified shuttle service between parts of the panopticon.

Elsewhere, Keith Thompson and Peter Hollis transcribed manuscripts showing Bentham’s interest in chemistry and scientific experiments, Lea Stern worked on a manuscript pertaining to Bentham’s thoughts on counterfeit-proof banknotes, and Jonathan Targett transcribed a manuscript entitled ‘The art of forming an image in the mind & of expressing that image by lines, by shades, by colours, by moulding, by carving‘, or—for those of us who don’t speak Bentham—the art of drawing, painting, and carving.

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