Archive for March, 2014

Progress update, 22 to 28 March 2014

By Tim Causer, on 28 March 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 22 to 28 March, a week in which the greatest number of manuscripts have been worked on by volunteers since Transcribe Bentham was launched in September 2010! Our 7,000th transcript was also locked this week, just to add to the achievement of TB volunteers.  27,205 words of text were transcribed this week, along with an additional 11,055 words of TEI XML.

7,369 manuscript have now been transcribed, which is an increase of 111 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 7,026 (95%) are complete after having been through our quality-control procedures.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 85 794 10%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 149 290 51%
Box 15 17 914 2%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 34 4 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 4 418 1%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 55 910 6%
Box 50 156 198 76%
Box 51 370 940 39%
Box 62 55 565 10%
Box 70 295 350 84%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 612 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 122 147 82%
Box 96 530 539 98%
Box 97 73 296 24%
Box 98 215 499 42%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 461 538 85%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 207 853 24%
Box 118 51 880 5%
Box 119 63 990 6%
Box 121 119 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 95 972 9%
Box 169 129 728 17%
Add MSS 537 18 744 2%
Add MSS 538 20 858 2%
Add MSS 539 5 948 1%
Overall 7,369 21,451 34%

 

This has been an extremely exciting week for Transcribe Bentham, not only because of the fantastic rate of transcription, but because we were able to upload to the website the first batch of the British Library’s Bentham manuscripts. These volumes contain correspondence to and from Bentham and his wider family, and intellectual associates. Already, volunteer Simon Croft has transcribed a letter from Jeremy Bentham to his younger brother, Samuel, in which he discusses the matchmaking efforts of their father, Jeremiah. Jeremy had been introduced to one Sarah Stretton and reported that though she had ‘a most enchanting set of teeth’, her ‘features are too large for her face’ and she was ‘dressed most unbecomingly’. Nevertheless, Jeremy remained keen ‘to have an opportunity of being better acquainted with her’. Oh, Jeremy.

As Dr Kris Grint remarked of the British Library’s Bentham Papers, in a post on the British Library’s Untold Lives blog, ‘some of this correspondence has not been read since its original composition’, and so there is the genuine opportunity to ‘fundamentally shape and illuminate our understanding of Bentham’s life and relationships’. The definitive biography of Bentham still remains to be written.

223 years ago today – 28 March 1791 – nine convicts, taking with them two infant children and a whole host of supplies, stole a six-oared open boat from Sydney Harbour and begin a 3,000-mile voyage to Timor. This episode is the most well-known of all escapes by convicts transported to Australia, and the manuscript of the only first-hand account – the Memorandoms of James Martin – was acquired by Jeremy Bentham, and is part of his vast archive here at UCL. The Memorandoms is now available online for the first time via the Bentham Project website, featuring an introduction, detailed annotation, and links to the original manuscripts. UCL Media Relations has also filmed a video about this fascinating story.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has given their time and effort to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It is as greatly appreciated as always.

Meet the Benthams: Bentham family correspondence now available to transcribe

By Tim Causer, on 24 March 2014

We are delighted to announce that the first three volumes of the British Library’s Bentham manuscripts are now available to explore and transcribe. This material contains Bentham family correspondence for the period 1744 to 1783 and includes letters to and from Jeremy, his father Jeremiah, mother Alicia, younger brother Samuel, and their wider family, colleagues, business associates, and wider intellectual circles.

The British Library is part of the Transcribe Bentham project consortium. For more details about these manuscripts please visit their Untold Lives blog. A list of the manuscripts, and a description of the contents of each volume, can be found at our Untranscribed manuscripts page.

Progress update, 15 to 21 March 2014

By Tim Causer, on 21 March 2014

Welcome to the progress update for the period 15 to 21 March 2014, which has seen transcribers make further excellent progress. 15,106 words of Bentham text have been transcribed this week, along with a further 6,046 words of TEI XML.

7,258 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially transcribed, up 48 on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 6,927 (95%) are complete and have been locked after being checked by TB project staff.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 63 794 7%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 147 290 50%
Box 15 16 914 1%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 34 3 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 0 418 0%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 54 910 5%
Box 50 156 198 76%
Box 51 370 940 39%
Box 62 55 565 10%
Box 70 295 350 84%
Box 71 663 663 100%
Box 72 612 664 92%
Box 73 151 151 100%
Box 79 199 199 100%
Box 95 122 147 82%
Box 96 528 539 97%
Box 97 71 296 23%
Box 98 215 499 42%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 458 538 84%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 492 864 55%
Box 117 155 853 16%
Box 118 36 880 3%
Box 119 62 990 6%
Box 121 119 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 95 972 9%
Box 169 123 728 16%
Overall 7,258 18,842 38%

On Monday 24 March, we will be making a very exciting announcement about Transcribe Bentham, so please do watch this space! (and the project’s Twitter and Facebook feeds).

In further reading, the Director of the Bentham Project and General Editor of the Collected Works, Professor Philip Schofield, has written an entry for the Oxford University Press blog entitled ‘Gloomy terrors or the most intense pleasure?‘. This blog discusses the recently published Of Sexual Irregularities, and Other Writings on Sexual Morality, in which Bentham advances the first systematic defence of sexual liberty in modern European thought.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has given their time so generously to Transcribe Bentham during the last week, it is as appreciated by us as ever.

Progress update, 8 to 14 March 2014

By Tim Causer, on 14 March 2014

Welcome to the progress update for the period 8 to 14 March 2014, which has been another bumper week of transcription. 15,567 words were transcribed this week, along with a further 6,569 words of TEI XML.

7,210 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is up 72 on last week’s total. 6,880 (95%) of these transcripts have now been transcribed, which is an increase of 65 since the last progress report.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

One nice find during the last week was the transcription by volunteer Simon Croft of Bentham’s satirical ‘Panegyric on the Dead’, in which he mocks the idea that the law was infallible since it had been produced by eminent, now deceased, men. A ‘dead man‘, wrote Bentham, ‘is universally acknowleged to be more estimable than a live one. He is universally acknowleged to be good company: since his decorum is such, that after he has once said what he has to say, which every one is at liberty to attend to or not as he thinks proper, he never sets himself afterwards to contradict.‘ Which is rather appropriate coming from a man whose remains are now in a box here at UCL. Perhaps we should have these words embossed on the auto-icon’s cabinet…

Thank you, as always to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last week. It remains greatly appreciated by us all.

Progress update, 1 to 7 March 2014

By Tim Causer, on 7 March 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 1 to 7 March 2014, during which time transcribers have been enormously productive. 19,628 words were transcribed this week, along with a further 6,452 words of TEI XML.

7,138 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, up 78 on last week’s total. This is particularly impressive, given that it was barely ten days ago when the 7,000th transcript was begun. Of these transcripts, 6,815 (95%) are now complete after having been checked, which is an increase of 81 since the last progress update.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

This week, we took delivery of a further batch of the British Library’s Bentham manuscripts, containing more correspondence from Jeremy and Samuel Bentham, and their father Jeremiah. We will tell you more about this in the coming weeks, and it will – fairly soon – be available to explore and transcribe.

Thank you, as always, to everyone who has taken part in Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. Your efforts continue to widen access to Bentham’s manuscripts, and we remain extremely grateful.