Transcribing between the lines: crowd-sourcing historic data collection

Nicole Kearney, Museum Victoria, Australia, Elycia Wallis, Museums Victoria, Australia

Published paper: Transcribing between the lines: crowd-sourcing historic data collection

Archival field diaries are an invaluable source of scientific and historic data, providing insights into species’ past abundance and distribution, references to significant people and events, and personal descriptions of historic expeditions.
Despite the wealth of information they contain, they are an underutilised resource because they are inaccessible in their original state. As hand-written documents they are hard to read, and they are often uncatalogued. This means that neither their contents nor their very existence is searchable.
In this paper, we will explore the evolving field of online transcription, with a particular emphasis on archival field diaries. Using Museum Victoria’s recent transcription projects as key case studies, we will discuss the transcription platforms available, the standards required for success, and, most importantly, what we are doing to capture all the data.

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