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Welcome to Transcribe Bentham!

By , on 6 December 2017

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a double award-winning collaborative initiative which is crowdsourcing the transcription of Bentham’s previously unpublished manuscripts.

Anyone can start transcribing at our Transcription Desk.  Your transcripts will contribute to the production of Bentham’s Collected Works and preserve Bentham’s writings into the future.

Find out more about Transcribe Bentham in the sidebar menu on the left, or scroll down to read the latest news from the Transcribe Bentham blog.  Happy transcribing!

Transcription Update – 5 January to 1 February 2019

By , on 1 February 2019

Welcome to February! We’re here with the latest statistics update – transcription continues steadily thanks to the efforts of our fabulous volunteers.

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 1 February 2019.

21,451 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 20,667 (96%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 144 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 36 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!

Project update – master Bentham’s handwriting with Transkribus Learn

By , on 18 January 2019

Over the years, our volunteers have developed an enviable expertise in deciphering Bentham’s decidedly difficult handwriting.  They can even transcribe pages like this! By contrast, many newcomers are understandably daunted by Bentham’s scrawl – they may start transcribing a page one day but then never return.

A new e-learning website, produced by the University of Innsbruck as part of the READ project, promises to help anyone and everyone get to grips with all kinds of historical handwriting. Transkribus Learn does not replace systematic paleography training but it allows users to practice reading and transcribing individual words, learning as they go.

To try it out:

Transkribus Learn has two transcription modes – ‘Study’ and ‘Test’.

In the former, users can guess and then reveal the transcription of individual words in a manuscript.  In the latter, users will be prompted to transcribe the missing word in a series of examples. At the end, you receive your score and a list of correct and incorrect answers. You can keep studying and testing yourself, as often as you like.

There are two Bentham collections on the site – categorised as ‘easier Bentham (containing writing by Bentham and his secretaries) and ‘difficult Bentham’. Both collections are an ideal training ground for new volunteers, offering the opportunity to practice transcribing different words in rapid succession.

We recommend that new volunteers start with the ‘easier Bentham’ and move onto the more difficult pages once they feel ready.  I hope some of our long-standing volunteers might also have a play and challenge themselves to ready some of Bentham’s nastiest handwriting!

What does that say?? Practice transcribing Bentham and more with Transkribus Learn

Access the Bentham material in Transkribus Learn:

As one of the partners in the READ project, the Bentham Project helped to develop Transkribus Learn. But there’s so much more than Bentham to discover on the site. The site currently contains scripts from the 12th to the 19th centuries in a range of languages. Users can also upload their own documents to the platform as a training exercise for students or volunteers.

The Transkribus team look forward to helping a broad range of people learn valuable new transcription skills!  They welcome any feedback or questions (learn@transkribus.eu).

Transcription Update – 8 December 2018 to 4 January 2019

By , on 4 January 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The first statistics update of 2019 is looking good.  Volunteers have been participating in our Transcription Challenge. They’re working together to transcribe a list of targeted pages and the productivity is impressive. Thank you to every who has transcribed something lately.

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 4 January 2019.

21,307 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 20,483 (96%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 102 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 26 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!

Project Update – next stage of our transcription challenge

By , 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

Transcription Update – 10 November to 7 December 2018

By , on 10 December 2018

Howdy.  We’re here with the last statistics update of 2018.  We need to say a huge THANK YOU to our volunteers for all the hard work they have put in over the past 12 months.  We would be nothing without you!

Here are the full statistics for the initiative – as of 7 December 2018.

21,205 manuscript pages have now been transcribed or partially-transcribed. Of these transcripts, 20,378 (96%) have been checked and approved by TB staff.

Over the past four weeks, volunteers have worked on a total of 133 manuscript pages. This means that an average of 33 pages have been transcribed each week during the past month.

Check out the Benthamometer for more information on how much has been transcribed from each box of Bentham’s papers!

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