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Project Update – next stage of our transcription challenge

By Louise Seaward, on 14 December 2018

Since the summer, our volunteers have been working on something new.  Back in July I launched Transcribe Bentham’s first Transcription Challenge, where I asked volunteers to collaborate on the transcription of certain boxes of Bentham’s writings.  The idea was that with the combined effort of our transcribers, we could completely transcribe several boxes (Boxes 14, 50, 70, 72, 95, 537 and 538) that were close to completion.

Our volunteers responded enthusiastically and have been steadily transcribing the targeted material ever since.  They have now transcribed over 80% of the targeted pages. Their efforts deserve to be commended as much of this material is particularly nasty – difficult handwriting, complex layouts and foreign languages.  So a big thank you goes to everyone who has taken part so far!

After spending a bit of time checking through the content of these boxes, I have found a few extra pages lurking under the radar that still need to be transcribed in full.  Some eagle-eyed transcribers have already spotted and transcribed these outstanding pages – thank you!  The remaining pages still to be transcribed can be found in the below list – and I would be grateful for anyone who can take on the challenge of undertaking these transcriptions.

But I also want to invite volunteers to start work on a new challenge! This challenge is focused on fresh material, much of which is a little easier than that in Boxes 14, 50, 70, 72, 95, 537 and 538. After consultation with my colleagues at the Bentham Project, I have selected a few boxes of material that are likely to be of use to us as we work on the edition of Bentham’s Collected Works over the next few years.

These boxes are:

Volunteers can find lots of pages to transcribe from these boxes by consulting the Untranscribed Manuscripts list. Most of these boxes contain material written by both Bentham and his secretaries.  There is also some French language writing in Box 57 (pages 20-35).

The productivity of our volunteers always impresses me and it is fantastic to see what can be achieved when energies are channelled in a particular direction.  Thank you all!

If you have any questions or comments about the challenge, please let me know by email (transcribe.bentham@ucl.ac.uk).

Material still to transcribe from Boxes 14, 50, 72 and 537:

Box 14

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting Foreign language?
JB/014/309/017 Deontology Difficult
JB/014/309/019 Deontology Difficult
JB/014/309/020 Deontology Difficult
JB/014/447/001 Deontology Difficult

Box 50

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting Foreign language?
JB/050/090/001  Legal procedure  Difficult
JB/050/173/001  Legal procedure  Difficult  French
JB/050/174/001 Legal procedure (table form)  Difficult  French

Box 72

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 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/095/001/001  Turnpike Act  Difficult
 JB/095/003/001  Turnpike Act  Difficult
 JB/095/063/001  Turnpike Act  Difficult
 JB/095/076/001  Sanctions  Difficult
 JB/095/107/001  Legal procedure  Difficult
 JB/095/109/002  Turnpike Act  Difficult
 JB/095/111/002  Turnpike Act  Difficult

Box 537

Page Number
Content Difficulty of handwriting
Foreign language?
 JB/537/363/001  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
JB/537/364/001  Jeremy to Samuel Bentham  Difficult  French
JB/537/365/001 Jeremy to Samuel Bentham Difficult French
JB/537/366/002 Jeremy to Samuel Bentham Difficult French