Transcription for State & Provincial Archives
More Accessible, Searchable, And Usable Records — Crowdsource Collaborative Transcription Via An Intuitive Easy-To-Use Platform
More Accessible, Searchable, And Usable Records — Crowdsource Collaborative Transcription Via An Intuitive Easy-To-Use Platform
Maximize your efforts – tap into a community of interested volunteers and use a simple, customizable tool to transcribe public and government records
Speak directly with the creators and learn how FromThePage can help you easilyindex your collection of records
Free customized walkthrough of the exact features to create searchableand accessible materials
Crowdsourcing is a great fit for state archives. It’s an efficient way of reaching out to people interested in the archives and offering them a specific project to work on. For our first project with FromThePage we transcribed 50,000 marriage certificates, which have no index, and have to be searched by hand otherwise. We don’t have the staff for a data-entry project of this magnitude; we need to utilize volunteers. The fielded-form of FromThePage, along with the desire of the volunteer transcribers to help create something useful for the benefit of many, has made this project successful.
“Virtual volunteers” and forming a new community of users
FromThePage was exactly what we were looking for—a crowdsourced transcription platform that offered hosting services. The archives used it to create a meaningful World War I centennial commemorative program involving the public. We accomplished a massive indexing project of over 111,000 WWI service records cards more quickly than we ever could have in-house. Working with Ben and Sara we produced the field function feature needed for this project and now it can be adapted for other crowdsourcing projects. Through this work we established a base of “virtual volunteers” and formed relationships in a new community of users.
As part of a land grant institution, the library wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. Adhering to this mission requires a further commitment to digital accessibility and the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, digital content by people with disabilities. By providing accurate transcriptions, translations, and correcting OCR, we expand access to this content for all online users in accordance with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility guidelines. Ben and Sara are easy to work with, understand our profession well, and are committed to making the systems we all use easier and better integrated.
This particular collection has always been available at the Archives, but now people know about it! They are able to search and even see the images from home. It’s been a very efficient way for us to get a large collection indexed. We have over 100 volunteers, and about 25 active any given week; they can all work at the same time, at any time of the day, from anywhere. The collection is now available online to researchers as it’s being indexed, which is something we haven’t been able to offer before. As more archives embark on digitization and transcription projects, our history becomes much more accessible. Also, this project has allowed us to interact with a group of people who have never visited the Indiana Archives before and may have never heard of it.
There’s no reason to struggle sorting through a complex set of tools that makes no sense for your document types. Streamlined, intuitive tools for your specific needs can be curated to make work easier for you and collaborators.
Even if you’ve never crowdsourced before, we help you set everything up and provide advice on how to encourage volunteers to become transcribers for your projects.
Whether you have an established team or are looking to crowdsource help, we provide a platform that allows you to track, control, oversee, and review projects painlessly.
Always get your questions answered by us directly, the developers of the software. That way you get the support and help you need faster, with no extra steps.
We have experience advising many institutions how to use our wealth of tools for their specific materials, even if it’s a little out of the box. If you have a unique need, we are passionate about helping you meet it.
Skip the frustration of trying to create your own transcription process or software. We’ve anticipated the essential features you want and need; developing a superior software tool for the solution of more searchable records.
With FromThePage you get powerful transcription, annotation, metadata, and indexing capabilities to create searchable documents to expand the community that can access them. Also, the user-friendly interface provides remote volunteering opportunities simply, without overloading you or your team with time-consuming tasks.
Whether you plan to crowdsource transcription projects from your archives, or utilize an internal team, we can advise on what features have helped our many successful clients set up their systems for efficiency and ease of use.
Our software has been utilized by many archives. The diverse projects we’ve supported include transcription of state, provincial, and local administrative records like marriage certificates, birth, and death records; as well as veterans’ service records, historical voter registration rolls, and financial ledgers. We would love to walk you through how FromThePage can help you take your record holdings and make them more accessible.
With our custom demo of the software, we show you how FromThePage can be configured to accomplish your specific goals with your actual materials. One way we do this is by sharing case studies of other users to show how our features can support your transcription needs in a variety of ways.
The following features are especially relevant and utilized by archivists:
Support your programming with an online component of public engagement of transcription and translation of primary source materials.
Collaborators can zoom to decipher difficult handwriting on uploaded documents.
Page level comments and discussion create a rich experience for transcribers to become more knowledgeable and precise over-time.
Tools to oversee, track, control, and review projects so you can maintain high-quality contributions.
Field-based transcription to support pre-printed forms allows transcription of structured data from index cards, government forms, spreadsheets, and questionnaires.
Standardized metadata fields can be created so that users can create item-level metadata.
Project owners can grant access to specific people only if they wish. This can restrict access to projects to only staff members, members of a research group, or members of indigenous or descendant communities.
Review of an OCR text compared to the original source document allows for human corrected transcriptions.
Users may tag subjects like toponyms or personal names, automatically creating an index in the text, preserving variant phrases or spellings used to refer to the same subject.
Import options to load collections and associated metadata as simply as entering URLs.
In our experience, the people that are drawn to this type of volunteering are very detail oriented, passionate, curious, and committed. You can set customized guidelines, designated reviewers, and allow version history viewing to help transcribers become more precise over time.
You can upload documents in small amounts over time, the work is all defined by your project timeline. Also, training staff or expert volunteers to be in a reviewer role means your time doesn’t need to be monopolized by review of transcriptions. And keeping tabs on work is easy, our nightly activity reports show you progress in your inbox every morning.
The extensive list of projects we’ve consulted on allows us to make suggestions to make sure your projects will be successful and will not take excess time and effort on your part.
We can help. The information we provide can be used to explain how this software will radically increase the usability of the resources while cultivating community engagement, allowing for the development of research initiatives, as well as enhancing collection accessibility for interoperability and supporting digital preservation.
After our custom demo call, if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, we can recommend different approaches, other collaborators, or other platforms if they’re more appropriate — we really don’t want you to use our software if it’s wrong for your needs.
We do want you to be successful. We will support you however we can in charting your path to reach your institution's goals.
We can share examples of other projects that are doing similar work. This allows us to strategize with you on how best to tackle your particular materials and gives you an idea of the vast variety of projects we’ve supported.
We’ve worked in research computing for the humanities and social sciences, so we can advise on what helps make grant applications more compelling.
The information we can provide to reinforce your application includes similar case studies to show how FromThePage is essential to providing readable, searchable record holdings and how it’s been successfully used by many others to do just that.
We go so far as to help with Letters of Support and Budget Line item breakdowns so including FromThePage in your grant applications is seamless.
It is our mission to make it easier, more enjoyable, and more productive to expand your online offerings. We will help you set up your interface so you are ready to hit the ground running, with your team or with volunteers. We can help you with recruitment strategies and also promote the project through the FromThePage website to our established, enthusiastic transcriber community.
The flexibility of the platform coupled with the import/export options and the support of many different document types means integration is really simple.
If you have any questions along the way, we are available to answer them by email or chat. We can also set up a meeting to share our screen and walk through the platform functions with you.
You will never be left banging your head against your desk, we promise.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History staff spent 18 months digitizing 111,000 WWI service record cards and in only 3.5 months volunteer transcribers finished them all. FromThePage made it easy to keep track of all the volunteers, many who were not even in Alabama. People were looking for worthwhile projects, and the geographic boundaries of the documents mattered way less than staff thought they would. When this project was done the virtual volunteers were clamoring for more and the archives went to work getting more digitized collections up on the platform. See the whole story here.
The Maryland State Archives had volunteer transcribers help create an index for over 50,000 marriage certificates. Archivists no longer need to search by hand for the record. This was made more difficult if the patron couldn’t remember the date of their marriage but desperately needed the certificate to apply for social security benefits, a passport, or a driver’s license renewal. Digitized, searchable indexes of records make an enormous difference in helping people who need them and those who use them for genealogical purposes. Check out this project here.
The State Archives of North Carolina has active collections on varying topics on FromThePage, including Local Draft Board Records, Colonial Court Records, African American Education, World War I Diaries, WWI and WWII Letters, and Women’s History. Their grant-funded project North Carolina’s Early Court Records kicked-off their use of the platform. Beyond their goal to broaden accessibility to the collections, they also wanted to engage public volunteers with the work of the archives through transcription. Now patrons anywhere in the world can perform full-text searches on the transcribed documents; find out more here.
The Indiana Archives and Records Administration used FromThePage to create an index of Indiana’s WWI service record cards with the goal of honoring veterans and making history more accessible. Interest in transcribing records made it a very efficient way to index a large collection and illustrate the value of the archives to more people. FromThePage is a valuable platform for helping to make that connection happen. Read what volunteers have to say about the transcription process here.
Our experience using FromThePage has been very positive. Our goal was to capture all the data from the WWI Questionnaires, as well as other field-based documents, in order to increase access and searchability. We chose an absolute beast of a form to attempt as our first structured data transcription set: 118 lines, some with 3 or 4 fields per line, with a total of over 200 fields. Ben and Sara worked with our team at the Library to upload all the images, make the form properly, and even incorporate new features we needed. Crowdsourcing has been immensely popular with our users, and we want to continue to build on this type of interaction with ongoing projects. We look forward to continuing to work with users and FromThePage to improve our collections and generate new interactions.
We utilize FromThePage to broaden accessibility to our collections and also to engage public volunteers. Our goals are to increase access through expanded arrangement, description, and digitization, providing greater keyword searching and increased accessibility when cursive or archaic spelling may present a barrier to reading archival materials. Now on transcribed materials we can perform full text searches! Also, the platform is very simple and straightforward to use. One of the best features is its compatibility with CONTENTdm, the digital management software we utilize. Exporting the completed transcriptions is a two-step process requiring very little effort.
Pages — and counting!
FromThePage allows you to make your digitized records more accessible, searchable, and ultimately more usable. You can even engage volunteers in citizen scholarship while you do it!
Volunteer transcription is a great way for people to make a real difference from their home, whether they are making access to public documents easier, highlighting people forgotten by the historic records, or spotlighting a particular person or community.
Whether you transcribe internally or crowdsource with volunteers, we are here to help. If we don’t currently have the functionality you need, we can develop the solution collaboratively with you, or we will suggest alternate collaborators or platforms to help you reach your goals.
That’s what you get when you have developers that are fully invested in your success.
Records are absolutely a frontline necessity for so many aspects of our lives–authorization for medical care, government and employee benefits, passports, even final burial. If you can't find the record you're sunk. I got a call from a woman who needed her marriage certificate so she could authorize treatment for her husband who was hospitalized with covid. I used an index created by FromThePage volunteer transcribers to find the certificate, and was able to email a copy to her in less than thirty minutes. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to help her in a dire time.