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Transcribe Bentham


A Participatory Initiative


Inside and Outside the Classroom

Transcribe Bentham is suitable for users aged 16 and over. See our Terms of Use.

A Heritage Learning Initiative

Transcribe Bentham is a heritage learning initiative which exposes learners to original historical manuscripts while promoting core skills.  It encourages the use of archival collections in schools and targets all three learning groups – visual, aural and kinaesthetic – by including instructional and informational videos, visual images, and textual resources. Pupils can actively participate by using the online transcription tool and by communicating with other contributors.  Users gain points for transcriptions and advance up the progress ladder reaching successive achievement levels as they improve.

Teaching Curriculua

Transcribe Bentham introduces learners to digitised collections and embodies the ideals of the National Curriculum in the following ways:

  • Sharpens visual awareness
  • Promotes literacy, analytical and computer skills
  • Brings history alive
  • Encourages learners to make a positive contribution
  • Increases knowledge and understanding through contact with artefacts
  • Provides an alternative way of working
  • Promotes historical enquiry, interpreting evidence, understanding past societies and environments
  • Promotes citizenship, reflective learning, self-management and confidence

It also promotes the four-pronged agenda of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence:

  • Successful Learners: the project provides an opportunity for non-traditional learning and the development of new practical skills such as transcription and computer know-how
  • Confident Individuals: this project will give learners an opportunity to work independently with archives to explore history. By emphasising the importance of their contribution to the initiative, learners will gain a sense of achievement
  • Responsible Citizens: the project will develop learners’ knowledge of the world, its government and its history; it will encourage learners to preserve the past and recognise the value of historical documents
  • Effective Contributors: it will stress the value of learners’ individual contributions and their role in preserving and understanding the past

A-Levels and Scottish Highers

Bentham’s ideas are studied as part of a range of A-levels and Scottish Highers and school teachers will find Transcribe Bentham an interesting and useful topic to incorporate into their lessons.  The project is a unique initiative which allows learners not only to engage with their own heritage through access to original historical manuscripts of international significance, but also to contribute actively to the documentation of the nation’s history.

Using Transcribe Bentham as a teaching tool in schools.

Learning outside the classroom

We can arrange for your class to visit and participate in the Transcribe Bentham project at UCL. During your time here students will  be given the opportunity to visit Jeremy Bentham who is preserved in his box in the South Cloisters, and to hear a short lecture from an expert in the field. We can also organise an interactive transcription workshop where students can learn to read and understand Bentham’s manuscripts, both original copies and digitised images.  Students from Raine’s Foundation School in Bethnal Green; the Queen’s School, Chester; St Albans High School for Girls and University College School have previously visited the project.  Check out our blog post to see what happened when pupils from Queen’s School, Chester visited us back in 2010.

A-level Religious Studies pupils from the Queen’s School in Chester transcribe Bentham

Alternatively, representatives from the project are available to visit your school to deliver presentations and introduce pupils to Transcribe Bentham.

Contact us to find out more or explore the idea of heritage learning at the following websites: