You may have noticed a few changes to the By the People website recently! Here's a rundown of updates we've been able to make to the site this month, including some big tweaks to the profile page!
By the People runs on Concordia, the open source transcription platform developed by the Library of Congress. This release is Concordia version 0.6.18. Concordia is free to use and reuse -- learn more and see our code on Github. Thanks to our developer team for all their hard work!
"Help" is now "How-To"
We heard from volunteers who did not expect instructions to be located under "Help", so we've changed the label. You can still find our transcription, review, and tagging instructions there. And thanks to a drop-down menu, it's easier to get directly to the instructions you need from wherever you are on the site!
Profile page enhancements
The profile page is available to all registered and logged in users. See yours here! We've added some new contribution data and new ways to navigate, as well as service letter generator.
The first thing you'll notice is that "My Contributions" now shows transcription activity ("saves & submits") and review activity ("reviews"), as well as a total for all activity on the site. We did this to help volunteers better understand their contributions and be able to count them accordingly, whether for personal interest or for community service requirements.
We also hope it will now be much easier to navigate back to a page you worked on! The "My Contributions" table records your actions on the site (save, submit, accept, reject) and the "Pages worked on" list below tracks the pages where you took those actions. We wanted to make that clearer, so we added a header, and moved the action information to the right. By default the page list will now sort by date, with the most recent first.
You can also now filter your pages by campaign! If you click on a campaign title (for example, "Clara Barton: "Angel of the Battlefield") in the "My Contributions" table, the list below will filter to display only those pages you worked on in that particular campaign. Select "All Campaigns" in the last row of the "My Contributions" table to reset the list.
The final major change you'll see is the service letter generator. During the pandemic, we've received an outpouring of requests to provide service letters for students and others who are volunteering for school or community service credit. Now volunteers can generate needed documentation from the profile page! Please contact us if you need any modifications to the self-serve letter –we're happy to provide them.
A reordered homepage
In response to volunteers' need for more direct access to onboarding materials, we moved the links to help guides for transcribing and review to the top of the page. We've seen an incredible increase in volunteers this year and this simple update will help new and returning contributors find the resources they need to get started!
If you scroll a little further down the homepage, you'll see a brand new way to jump into the collections. Use the "Surprise Me" bar to jump to a random page that needs transcription or a random page that needs review. Click on these links to find something new to work on!
Easier to understand campaign progress
We've also made a slight update to the display of status labels. Completed projects now feature a "complete" flag to indicate that all of the pages in that project have been transcribed and reviewed. And we increased the contrast on the color scheme used to indicate the collection progress (needs review, in progress, not started) to make it easier to tell what has been done and what still needs doing!
You may also notice a very slight change to the contributors count above the campaign progress bar, which now reads "registered contributors". We wanted to make it clear that the contributor count does not include anonymous transcribers. Our community of volunteers is even larger than that number indicates!
Let us know what you think of the changes! What other updates or features would you like to see? We value your feedback in making By the People work better for all volunteers and the Library.