Progress update, 10 to 16 May 2014

By Kris Grint, on 16 May 2014

Hello and welcome to the progress update for the period 10 to 16 May 2014, where I’m delighted to report that TB volunteers have continued to sustain the very high rate of transcription we have seen since the start of this year.

This week, our figures rose to 8,295 manuscripts transcribed or partially-transcribed (up 120 on last week) and 7,782 manuscripts (94%) completed and locked (up 96 on last week). This translates to 18,450 words of Bentham, his secretaries, and his correspondents transcribed by our volunteers, with a further 4,592 words added in the form of TEI XML tags which enrich the description of the manucripts.

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 95 794 11%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 153 290 52%
Box 15 24 914 3%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 1 122 1%
Box 31 2 302 1%
Box 34 7 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 7 418 1%
Box 37 0 487 1%
Box 38 0 424 1%
Box 39 0 282 1%
Box 41 71 528 12%
Box 42 58 910 6%
Box 44 17 201 8%
Box 50 159 198 79%
Box 51 372 940 39%
Box 57 1 420 1%
Box 62 55 565 9%
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 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 533 539 98%
Box 97 80 296 27%
Box 98 216 499 43%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 468 538 86%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 235 853 27%
Box 118 65 880 7%
Box 119 142 990 14%
Box 121 120 526 21%
Box 122 281 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 98 972 10%
Box 169 145 728 19%
Add MSS 537 361 744 48%
Add MSS 538 155 858 18%
Add MSS 539 235 948 24%
Overall 8,295 23,881 34%

Box 537, the first box of material to be added to Transcribe Bentham from the collections of the British Library, is just a few manuscripts away from being 50% complete. This is fantastic progress, especially as the box has only been available for transcript since the beginning of March. We will be introducing more fascinating  manuscripts from the collection over the next few weeks – stay tuned!

Continuing on the theme of the British Library material, the highlights from the transcripts submitted by volunteers this week show that Sir Samuel Bentham, brother of Jeremy, intrepid explorer in Russia and naval architect, is fast-becoming a star of the whole Bentham show:

‘I dont know whether I told you or not of my discovery with respect to bodies floating down a river with the stream’, writes Samuel from Siberia to Jeremy in 1783. Thankfully, this was strictly a scientific observation, as it applied to any object floating down a river, rather than corpses.

As Jeremy was preparing to visit Samuel in Russia in the early 1780s, the younger brother wrote to proffer some sensible fashion advice: ‘A pair of boots large enough for me you might wear on the road with 2 pairs of warm stockings under them.’

Meanwhile, Samuel estimated Jeremy’s travelling costs as possibly as low as £30, if Jeremy could come in an ‘economical way‘, involving travel by sea ‘as far as Dantzic or even Merinel’ and overland sledge via Riga. Our thanks to transcriber Ohsoldgirl for all three of these contributions!

Our gratitude is also extended, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last week.

Progress update, 3 to 9 May 2014

By Tim Causer, on 9 May 2014

Welcome to the progress update for the period 3 to 9 May 2014, during which time further excellent, relentless progress has been made by TB volunteers. Just under 20,000 words (including TEI XML) have been transcribed this week.

8,175 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is 93 up on this time last week. Of these transcripts, 7,686 (94%) are complete and have been locked after being checked by TB staff. The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

 

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 95 794 11%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 152 290 52%
Box 15 18 914 2%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 1 122 1%
Box 31 0 302 1%
Box 34 6 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 5 418 1%
Box 37 0 487 1%
Box 38 0 424 1%
Box 39 0 282 1%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 57 910 6%
Box 44 17 201 2%
Box 50 159 198 76%
Box 51 372 940 39%
Box 57 1 420 1%
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 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 533 539 98%
Box 97 79 296 26%
Box 98 216 499 43%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 467 538 86%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 231 853 27%
Box 118 62 880 7%
Box 119 129 990 13%
Box 121 120 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 98 972 10%
Box 169 145 728 19%
Add MSS 537 345 744 46%
Add MSS 538 149 858 17%
Add MSS 539 174 948 18%
Overall 8,175 21,451 34%

On the basis that everyone likes a graph, below (please click for a larger version) is a chart showing the rate of transcription since TB began in September 2010 to 2 May 2014, broken down into eight-week chunks. As you can see, the volume of work done by volunteers during the last few months is quite incredible, and the average number of manuscripts worked on each week has increased markedly.

Rate of transcription, 8 September 2010 to 2 May 2014

Rate of transcription, 8 September 2010 to 2 May 2014

As always, we are grateful to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last seven days. It is as greatly appreciated as ever.

Progress update, 26 April to 2 May 2014

By Tim Causer, on 2 May 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 26 April to 2 May 2014, during which time further excellent progress has been made by TB volunteers. We’re glad to say that we have finally caught up with all of the transcripts submitted over the Easter break – if any of your transcripts have been missed, do send us an email to let us know.

8,082 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed, which is an increase of 80 on last week’s total. Of these transcripts, 7,600 (95%) are complete and have been locked. Since UCL closed for Easter on 16 April, volunteers have transcribed an astonishing 57,651 words (including TEI XML).
The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 95 794 11%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 152 290 52%
Box 15 18 914 2%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 1 122 1%
Box 31 0 302 1%
Box 34 6 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 5 418 1%
Box 37 0 487 1%
Box 38 0 424 1%
Box 39 0 282 1%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 57 910 6%
Box 44 5 201 2%
Box 50 159 198 76%
Box 51 372 940 39%
Box 57 1 420 1%
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 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 533 539 98%
Box 97 79 296 26%
Box 98 216 499 43%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 466 538 86%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 231 853 27%
Box 118 62 880 7%
Box 119 111 990 11%
Box 121 120 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 97 972 9%
Box 169 145 728 19%
Add MSS 537 329 744 44%
Add MSS 538 148 858 17%
Add MSS 539 130 948 13%
Overall 8,082 21,451 34%

Further interesting material has been transcribed this week. These include Jeremiah Bentham’s complaint to the headmaster of Westminster School, regarding young Jeremy being divested of some of his books by the older ‘lads’ (thanks to Iris van der Zwaag for transcribing that one), and a letter from Jeremy to his father, asking Jeremiah to burn it after reading lest it should fall ‘into the hands of any of the persons mention’d’.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has contributed to Transcribe Bentham during the last week. It is enormously appreciated by us all.

 

Progress update, 12 to 25 April 2014: over 8,000 transcripts worked on!

By Tim Causer, on 25 April 2014

Welcome along to the progress update for the period 12 to 25 April 2014, during which time quite astonishing progress has been made by TB volunteers, who have broken all sorts of records. Though UCL was closed from 16 to 22 April, that didn’t stop transcribers working away at a rate of knots: during this two week period, 357 transcripts were worked on! This breaks down into 212 transcripts from 12 to 18 April—a new record—and a further 145 from 19 to 25 April.

This means that 8,002 manuscripts have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Since Transcribe Bentham launched in 2010, it has taken an average of four to five months for a thousand transcripts to be worked on; however, volunteers have gone from 7,000 to 8,000 transcripts in little over eight weeks (and we’ll write more about this soon). This is an amazing effort of the part of transcribers, and we are thrilled with this progress – it will make a real difference to our work and in providing access to Bentham’s manuscripts.

We are very grateful to volunteers for their patience as we work through checking their transcripts, and we hope to be back on an even keel early next week and will be able to report more fully on the number of words transcribed, and the number of transcripts which have been locked. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused, but we’re almost there!

The more detailed state of progress is as follows:

Box No. of manuscripts worked on No. of manuscripts in box Completion
Box 1 95 794 11%
Box 2 465 753 61%
Box 5 152 290 52%
Box 15 18 914 2%
Box 27 350 350 100%
Box 29 1 122 1%
Box 31 0 302 1%
Box 34 6 398 1%
Box 35 286 439 65%
Box 36 4 418 1%
Box 37 0 487 1%
Box 38 0 424 1%
Box 39 0 282 1%
Box 41 70 528 12%
Box 42 57 910 6%
Box 44 0 201 1%
Box 50 159 198 76%
Box 51 372 940 39%
Box 57 1 420 1%
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 95 123 147 83%
Box 96 531 539 98%
Box 97 79 296 26%
Box 98 216 499 43%
Box 100 182 422 41%
Box 107 466 538 86%
Box 115 276 307 89%
Box 116 497 864 57%
Box 117 231 853 27%
Box 118 62 880 7%
Box 119 111 990 11%
Box 121 120 526 21%
Box 122 280 717 38%
Box 139 40 40 100%
Box 150 97 972 9%
Box 169 144 728 19%
Add MSS 537 308 744 41%
Add MSS 538 137 858 15%
Add MSS 539 91 948 9%
Overall 8,002 21,451 32%

Some great material has been transcribed during the last two weeks. We find that Jeremy’s personal life continued to have its problems, as he expressed his frustrations at not having a reply to his letters from Sarah Stretton. Writing in 1776 to his brother Samuel, Jeremy bemoaned that despite having written her ‘an enormous long one [letter]‘, it was ‘now Wednesday and in all this time not a syllable have I heard from the little vixen’. (Thanks to Simon Croft for transcribing that one). A thirteen-year old Jeremy was forced to explain, in 1761, to his annoyed father why he had failed to write to him recently:

Sir I would have wrote to you as I promised if it had not been for a deep cut in my finger which I gave myself while I was mending a pen to write you with, just where I hold my pen; so that I could not hold it well enough to write intelligibly.

Surely that’s the eighteenth century version of ‘the dog ate it’ or ‘I didn’t get your text message’. Must try harder, JB (thanks to Iris van der Zwaag for submitting this transcript).

There is also a hint of Bentham’s unhappiness at Oxford in another letter of 1761 to his father:

I wrote a Letter or at least part of one
last Night, but being fatigued and not finding any of my
Acquaintance I sat down to it so melancholy, & made it
such a Melancholy Letter I was resolved to day I would
not send it: I do not know when I wished for your Company
so much as then; or when I have been so low-spirited : but
a good Night’s rest brought me to rights again.

(Thanks again to Iris for transcribing that one).

Finally, another cause of annoyance to Bentham at Oxford were his damp, dark rooms, where the furniture was ‘allways covered with dust’. Student digs: some things never change. (Thank you to Diane Jonker for transcribing this one).

As always, thanks so much to everyone who contributed to Transcribe Bentham over the past two weeks. The generosity of volunteers in taking part never ceases to amaze us.

UCL closure: 16 April to 22 April 2014

By Tim Causer, on 15 April 2014

UCL closes for its Easter break at 5pm on Wednesday 16 April, and reopens again on Wednesday 23 April. During this period, the Transcription Desk will remain fully available as usual, though it will be unstaffed during this period.

Submissions received after 16 April are unlikely to be checked until UCL re-opens, when normal service will be resumed; we apologise in advance for any inconvenience which this may cause to transcribers. The next progress update will be issued on Friday 25 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!