18 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2019 11:35 PM by Ethan Kent

    Finding the next document to review

    Julianne Mangin Adventurer

      The "Find a new page" links are helpful, but I am interested in a link that would take me to documents that need review.  I think reviewing documents is where I would like to focus my efforts.  Also, I'm wondering if there will ever be a distinction made between more experienced transcribers and beginners.  I see problems with the documents I review that are repeated, and it would be nice to get feedback to the transcribers.  I'm also concerned that if two inexperienced users transcribe and review the same documents, that serious errors might passed on as completed documents.

        • Re: Finding the next document to review
          Lauren Algee Adventurer

          Thank you for sharing, Julianne! 

           

          Your timing is excellent! We've been focusing on how to improve the experience of a user who want to focus on reviewing.  Our developers are already working on a change to the "find a new page" functionality and the pop-up you see after accepting an item. This change will make it easier for volunteers who are already reviewing to keep reviewing! 

          See the ticket for the button change here:  https://github.com/LibraryOfCongress/concordia/issues/749 

          Even more work on the review "track" is happening in this group of tickets:  https://github.com/LibraryOfCongress/concordia/labels/review%20process

           

          Currently we don't distinguish between beginner and experienced volunteers.  In thinking long-term about the holistic volunteer experience, we have wondered about the desirability and impact of some sort of enhanced permissions for experienced or invested users.  It's really great to hear what you would want and envision from a tiered system.  This isn't something we can implement anytime soon, but please continue to think about and share your vision for this program.

           

          Building up this community of practice by continuing to share your experience and advice here in History Hub is also a good way to to help your fellow volunteers "level up" their transcription and review skills and address some of the issues you're seeing in the meantime.

          • Re: Finding the next document to review
            Henry Rosenberg Adventurer

            I agree. I have a lot of free time and have been transcribing quite a bit and sometimes like to take a break and review. It's hard to find documents I did not transcribe that I can review.

             

            Another thing you can do as I mentioned previously is to go to "in progress" documents. Sometimes they are almost done being transcribed and occasionally there is a bit to do. It's easy to understand that people get frustrated trying to decipher some of the scribble and give up. However, I am the king of chicken scratch so many of these writings are much better than my own.

             

            I have some of the same concerns as you with inexperienced transcribers reviewing. I don't know if this has happened to you but I have come across documents I had transcribed, were reviewed by someone else and their corrections were wrong. I feel like I am getting pretty good at understanding her handwriting.

             

            I wonder if there is a way the moderators can determine our level of accuracy. Some of us could potentially become some sort of advanced transcriber or just a resource to help other transcribers(?).

              • Re: Finding the next document to review
                Lauren Algee Adventurer

                Thanks for weighing in as well, Henry. Community managers have discussed the possibility of eventually creating an ambassador program or creating enhanced roles or activities for experienced volunteers. It sounds like dedicated contributors like you and Julianne Mangin would be interested in such a program. This is something we'll continue to gather user feedback on as we improve and add to the transcription and review workflows. As we often note, we're just getting started! I hope we can make technical as well as programmatic improvements to help ease the concern you both are feeling

                • Re: Finding the next document to review
                  Beth Graham Adventurer

                  Snort! I love your expression, "the king of chicken scratch."

                   

                  I'm watching this conversation with interest. Although I'm new to the LOC community, I've been working on the Freedmen's Bureau Project at the Smithsonian for the past year and a bit, and feel I add greater value as a reviewer than as a transcriber. (I'm a better proofreader than typist!)

                   

                  I like what Lauren says above about the possibility of "enhanced permissions for experienced or invested users."

                   

                   

                  Henry Rosenberg  wrote:

                   

                  I agree. I have a lot of free time and have been transcribing quite a bit and sometimes like to take a break and review. It's hard to find documents I did not transcribe that I can review.

                   

                  Another thing you can do as I mentioned previously is to go to "in progress" documents. Sometimes they are almost done being transcribed and occasionally there is a bit to do. It's easy to understand that people get frustrated trying to decipher some of the scribble and give up. However, I am the king of chicken scratch so many of these writings are much better than my own.

                   

                  I have some of the same concerns as you with inexperienced transcribers reviewing. I don't know if this has happened to you but I have come across documents I had transcribed, were reviewed by someone else and their corrections were wrong. I feel like I am getting pretty good at understanding her handwriting.

                   

                  I wonder if there is a way the moderators can determine our level of accuracy. Some of us could potentially become some sort of advanced transcriber or just a resource to help other transcribers(?).

                  Henry Rosenberg  wrote:

                   

                  I agree. I have a lot of free time and have been transcribing quite a bit and sometimes like to take a break and review. It's hard to find documents I did not transcribe that I can review.

                   

                  Another thing you can do as I mentioned previously is to go to "in progress" documents. Sometimes they are almost done being transcribed and occasionally there is a bit to do. It's easy to understand that people get frustrated trying to decipher some of the scribble and give up. However, I am the king of chicken scratch so many of these writings are much better than my own.

                   

                  I have some of the same concerns as you with inexperienced transcribers reviewing. I don't know if this has happened to you but I have come across documents I had transcribed, were reviewed by someone else and their corrections were wrong. I feel like I am getting pretty good at understanding her handwriting.

                   

                  I wonder if there is a way the moderators can determine our level of accuracy. Some of us could potentially become some sort of advanced transcriber or just a resource to help other transcribers(?).

                • Re: Finding the next document to review
                  Julianne Mangin Adventurer

                  Lauren, I look forward to the changes you mentioned.

                   

                  Henry, your experience of someone correcting your transcription and introducing errors is a fear of mine.  That's why I would like to focus on reviewing.

                   

                  I feel like I have two skills to offer:  fast typing and the ability to decipher 19th century (and earlier) handwriting.  I think the latter is a higher level skill.  I have spent the last seven years doing my family genealogy, which has involved reading handwritten church records in French going back to about 1620.

                   

                  Which reminds me, I have wanted to find documents in French to review, but I have only stumbled across a few.  If there aren't enough transcribers who can handle such documents, I'd be happy to pitch in.  I just need a way to find them.  Maybe people could post in this forum when they find one, and if I see the message, I could pick it up.

                    • Re: Finding the next document to review
                      Henry Rosenberg Adventurer

                      Julianne- I just did a Google search of when she was in France and wrote entries in French. You will have to go to :

                      Diaries and Journals: 1888-1951 and find entries between

                      August 26 1888-February 3 1889.

                       

                      I hope that helps. Enjoy.

                      • Re: Finding the next document to review
                        Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                        Dear Julianne Mangin:

                         

                        My name is Ethan ("EthanFromBellmore" at Crowd; also Ethan W. Kent when doing National Archives Catalog work) -- in New York City.

                         

                        I am replying to the very last part of your latest post -- about seeking French-language material to transcribe.

                         

                        I studied French in high school and college, and have somewhat-continued reading French (although not so much speaking it or comprehending French spoken at conversational speed ) since the mid-1990s (about 15 years after I last attended a university "French" course (a literature course in which discussion was actually in a mix of French and American English) ) ; I have sought out French-language material myself.

                         

                        I think that unless/until an actual list is made (at History Hub or otherwise) of the Crowd/By the People material in French, it might be best to go to the Library of Congress Catalog (click on boldfaced "LIBRARY" to the left of "CROWD" on the Crowd homepage), filter by specifying "Manuscripts/Mixed Material" to the left of the search field, and type "French" plus "Lincoln" or "Terrell" or another key name connected to a current campaign; after finding material and its date/which category it would come up in in the Campaign, search for it in the Crowd/By the People interface.

                         

                        (Umm... -- otherwise, you could do a lot of searching page-by-page at the Crowd interface for a document description saying "(in French)".)

                         

                        BUT... "be careful what you wish for": I have found a few French-language documents in the Letters to Lincoln Campaign, but while some have very legible handwriting and standard spelling (including a nice little note from an early photographer in Montreal -- Charles Dion -- who seemed to be saying that he was sending a live eagle to Washington, DC (to be released upon victory) as encouragement to our Republic during the Civil War [Shrug]) , 1 document I read (from the author Comte Agénor de Gasparin in France -- wishing Lincoln and the US Government to know how sympathetic his new book is to their cause in the Civil War) was written in a difficult-to-read "scrawl", and another document I have found (from December of 1860 -- from a French-speaker who had found himself (or conceivably "her"-self) in Franklin County, Illinois and wanted help buying a land which this writer claimed would be a valuable lead/zinc mine) features erratic/inconsistent spelling -- much of which is *not* standard French spelling.

                         

                        (The latter document is described as being by a "Cordevrent Desire" by the Library of Congress, but the last name appears to certainly have been written "Désiré", and I think the first name may have been "Cordevant"; I would prefer that no one save the transcription as complete before the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as I wish to post at History Hub shortly concerning the question of whether transcribers should transcribe Mr. Désiré's spelling to look more standard (which I imagine you might be able to do, Ms. Mangin) and whether they should translate the message as well (this would be a bit harder to do, as the writing is a bit "opaque" -- partly due to the odd spelling) ... -- and I would hope to see a specific answer to those questions before that transcription should be considered "Completed".)

                         

                        Bonne Chance/Good Luck, Ms. Mangin (if you prefer I use "Juliette" in future, I will use "Juliette").

                         

                        Sincerely,

                         

                        EthanFromBellmore.

                          • Re: Finding the next document to review
                            Julianne Mangin Adventurer

                            Ethan, thanks for your tips.  Actually, there is also a filter for language.  I didn't have any success finding anything in the Lincoln letters in French.  When I used "French" as a keyword, I got so many documents about Benjamin French that I gave up.  Henry Rosenberg tipped me off about diaries in French in the Mary Church Terrell collection, so I'm working on those.

                             

                            Bien à vous

                            Julianne

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                              • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                                Merci, Julianne.

                                 

                                I'm sorry that my post seemed unhelpful to you as it seems that you feel that it wouldn't help you much to find the material in French in the Letters to Lincoln campaign.

                                 

                                 

                                If you wish, I could post (or at least try to) links to the documents I mentioned in my earlier post about Letters to Lincoln material I have worked in which was written in French.

                                 

                                 

                                (I have gotten an answer from Victoria Van Hyning (in another thread) about the matter of transcribing/translating material in not-quite-standard French; it seems to me that she encourages translation of non-English-language material when the transcriber can do so, but that she did not specify a desire to re-transcribe material with unusual spelling with the words spelled in standard form.)

                                 

                                 

                                Good Luck/Bonne Chance (including with Henry Rosenberg's suggestion concerning finding French-language material by Mrs. Terrell in the Mary Church Terrell Campaign).

                                 

                                 

                                Sincerely,

                                 

                                Ethan.

                                  • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                    Julianne Mangin Adventurer

                                    Ethan, I thought your post was helpful.  I would really appreciate it if you would post any French documents you see that need transcription or review.

                                     

                                    One did pop up randomly when I clicked on "find another page," so I know they are out there!

                                      • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                        Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                                        Julianne Mangin (or Julianne): Hi.

                                         

                                        I'm writing to thank you for your kind reply.

                                         

                                        I probably won't be working on anything in French within the next day or 2 (I'm about midway through transcribing a dense 2-column printed legal opinion (supporting Lincoln/Federal government action against a Pennsylvania weekly-newspaper editor who was hostile to the Republican party -- and I don't think that I will finish (or even work on) that transcription tonight) and I won't give you a complete list of other French-language material I have worked on in Letters to Lincoln, but I can give you a link to a 6-page document in French (now at the "Submitted for Review" stage)  -- a "Copy" (as it says in English on the 1st page) of a letter from a Bonaparte who was a relative of Napoleon III (Emperor of France at the time of our Civil War) which was sent to Edward Everett of Massachusetts (at the time an elder statesman and orator; as I recall, he was an ex-Senator at that point) in January of 1862 (I believe after this Prince Bonaparte had visited the US in 1861).

                                         

                                        (As I recall, the copyist made some minor errors in the French in the copying --  but (as I can see glancing at a few of the scanned pages tonight) the writing is relatively-legible, and the content is interesting.)

                                         

                                        Link to the document in the Crowd/By the People Interface: https://crowd.loc.gov/campaigns/letters-to-lincoln/1862-civil-war-death-of-willie-lincoln-drafts-of-emancipation-proclam…

                                        • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                          Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                                          Best Wishes for Happy Reviewing to you, Julianne, and/or to anyone else who may do Review work on this document.

                                           

                                           

                                          EthanFromBellmore.

                                • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                  suzanne piecuch Adventurer

                                  Yes! to what Julianne and Henry say.

                                   

                                  I've had those same thoughts/concerns. I am not an experienced transcriber, but I am a perfectionist and like to see the final product accurate. My thrill is deciphering handwriting, and I think I catch on fairly quickly. I have some experience, since I grew up in a bilingual home where I was expected to read letters from family overseas. And I also have a "thing" for names and have a pretty good instinct for inaccurate, or suspicious, name spellings... That said, I research my suspicions til I hit on the person in question... and it is such a fun exploration that I whoop when I find it! There was one name I searched several times using different spellings before I found reference to that person, in that era, in that city, connected to the subject at hand.

                                   

                                  I wonder if there could be a Flagging feature introduced that would nab errors in approved documents and bring them to the attention of more expert reviewers?

                                   

                                  I know I've made my share of flubs as I started on this journey.

                                   

                                  And I wish i could be on here more than I am! My time is so limited.

                                   

                                  Cheers!

                                   

                                  Suz.

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                                    • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                      Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                                      Thanks to "Suz." for your post about how you go about transcribing in a "perfectionist" way with added research to identify obscure references in documents -- especially as I have been doing that (and adding Tags to indicate that I have "found" the person/place/thing which is being referred-to in the document (so that after reading a legal-opinion  (the document I have been working on latest) reference to the "act of Congress of August 6, 1861", I was able to (via Google) find that English-language Wikipedia has an entry on something of that date called the "Confiscation Act of 1861" (which seemed to be the act in question) -- and was able to add the latter phrase as a Tag.

                                       

                                      Happy Transcribing/Reviewing to you.

                                       

                                      Ethan ("EthanFromBellmore") in New York City.

                                        • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                          suzanne piecuch Adventurer

                                          Hi Ethan,

                                           

                                          Yes! I have used tags in the same way you have; it's like certifying that you've researched the thing.

                                           

                                          My favorite find has been "Loco-Focos"... I ran across a bracketed [focus?] in a document I was reviewing, and I thought that didn't seem quite right in the context; it looked more like Locos to me, and i wondered if people then used the word "loco" in the same way we might today. So, on to the search! It took some digging before I found reference to the Locofoco party, and in that context, "Locos" did indeed make sense. Worth a tag, if only to point someone in a "check me on this" direction.

                                           

                                          My name-spelling find led me to an old friend of Lincoln's. My suspected spelling dug up reference to this man in relation to Lincoln's wedding, or courtship, and I thought, "Well, nice find, but it doesn't quite nail it."... Dug further, and I found a reference to that same man running for this particular office, with reference to his being an old acquaintance of Lincoln's.

                                           

                                          It's stuff like this that is so thrilling, and such an adventure! I did a similar hunt on the deeds of my (rather run-down) Queen Anne and found that the owner was an educational progressive in the region covering Maine, NH, Mass., and he and his college-educated wife were incorporators of the library and other cool things. I also discovered their gravesite and learned they'd had a child who died... That research project seems forever on hold, but I'm glad I unearthed as much as I did.

                                           

                                          Thanks for sharing, and allowing me to!

                                          Suz.

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                                            • Re: Finding the next document to review
                                              Ethan Kent Wayfarer

                                              Thanks, Suzanne (or "Suz.").

                                               

                                               

                                              The amount of material available on the Internet about various associates of Lincoln is of help in identifying individuals (especially men he knew from his pre-Presidential life in Illinois) whom he knew, but whom few 21st-century Americans could recognize from a casual mention of them by last name (I think that one of our fellow transcribers misread "Swett" (the last name of a younger-contemporary lawyer in Illinois named Leonard Swett) as something else (perhaps "Smith"; perhaps even not as a name with an initial capital letter) ... -- and Google was helpful to me (with respect to more pre-Presidency material) in mentioning the Lecompton(, Kansas) proposed constitution for that state (and the existence of "anti-Lecompton" persons in pre-Civil War politics) and in revealing the existence of opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 being known as "anti-Nebraska" individuals (or groups; the English-language Wikipedia article on this is entitled "Anti-Nebraska movement").

                                               

                                               

                                              You're welcome with respect to my post's having encouraged you to "share"/talk more about yourself and about how you deal with Letters to Lincoln transcription.

                                               

                                               

                                               

                                              I think I will sign off for now.

                                               

                                               

                                               

                                              Best Wishes to you (and all others who will read this) -- and Happy Transcribing and Happy Reading.

                                               

                                              Ethan.