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Transcribe Bentham


A Participatory Initiative


The ‘Bentham Bot’, and statistics update (October 2023)

By Chris Riley, on 24 October 2023

Transcribe Bentham users may have noticed recently that we now have use of an amazing new tool to help us process the vast amounts of transcripts you submit to us for checking—introducing the ‘Bentham Bot’ .

The ‘Bentham Bot’ has been developed by Dr Tom Couch, UCL Advanced Research Computing, for the mass detection of TEI encoding errors and for marking transcripts with no errors at all as completed.

The Bentham Bot allows us to detect incomplete tags and issues with TEI and to view all of these separately, before determining what’s wrong, making necessary amendments, and saving them alongside those that are submitted without coding issues. And we are delighted to see that, out of the extremely large backlog of completed transcripts, only a very small proportion were shown to have any issues, which is testament to your skills as transcribers and coders. During the Bentham Bot’s first run, 5,838 transcripts had no errors whatsoever, while only 329 contained incomplete tags or other coding issues!

This, of course, changes a few things. As already mentioned, the backlog has been reduced substantially, from ~6,000 transcripts at its peak, to 329 on Friday evening, or 361 at present!

This also means the Benthamometer has had a huge boost, with 39,525 transcripts now complete! That is 83.59% of all material currently on the Transcription Desk, which is incredible, so we are looking into uploading more boxes of the Bentham Papers.

Lastly, this change means that we will check transcripts word-for-word for accuracy at a slightly later stage, rather than checking them closely before marking them as completed on the Transcription Desk. Our hope is that this will speed up the overall process and ensure that the backlog of transcripts does not accumulate to previous levels.

Thank you immensely to Tom for developing the Bentham Bot and to our volunteers, whose contributions to the project continually exceed our expectations.

If you have any questions or queries about the above, or about Transcribe Bentham in general, please contact c.riley@ucl.ac.uk or p.lythe@ucl.ac.uk.

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