3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 29, 2019 11:03 AM by National Archives Catalog

    How to get started transcribing?


      I am new here, but very excited to get started transcribing. However, being a newbie I am completely unfamiliar with the process. Would someone be so kind as to point me in the direction of some methodology or a perhaps a tutorial/instructions? NOTE: I am very computer literate, just not familiar with the process. Do I download the items and transcribe them to a word doc and upload? Please advise.

        • Re: How to get started transcribing?

          I started transcribing audio interviews for a few grad students years ago, and then I saw an article from a blog talking about the Smithsonian needing volunteer transcribers. They have a great FAQ page, instructional pages, and other resources - - - but I think all their rules/requests only apply to their projects. Take a look around this site at the Communities and you might find projects and more information.

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          • Re: How to get started transcribing?
            Melissa Himes Adventurer

            I started transcribing on several crowdsourcing sites 4 years ago and currently contribute to 6 different groups.  The general purpose for transcribing is to produce searchable and readable files.  Every site has a different instruction set and format.  As Natalie said, The Smithsonian is a good place to learn how to transcribe.  The instructions are great, however, they are the most intense requirements that I have found on any site.  They might scare away some newbies.  For the National Archives, the Citizen Archivist instructions are found under the "Register and Get Started" page and in their FAQ's.   For CROWD, instructions pop up when you click on Transcribe.   Zooniverse has different instructions and tutorials for every project.  Once you find something you are interested in, click on the project and you will see About and Classify tabs.  Classify takes you to the instructions and oftentimes you will complete a tutorial before you begin your work.  For general knowledge about transcription and to find sites you might be interested in, a search for crowdsourcing transcription projects will provide lots of options. 

            As far as the mechanics of transcription, there is a youtube video that explains the transcription process for NARA - How to Tag and Transcribe Records in the National Archives Catalog.  Basically on all of these sites, once you click on a document a transcription box appears where you will type what you see on the document and have the ability to add tags or comments.  Transcription is quite easy - just jump in and try a few. It is a very interesting and rewarding hobby.

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            • Re: How to get started transcribing?
              National Archives Catalog Scout

              We'd love to have you join us as a Citizen Archivist.  Thanks Melissa Himes for a great description of our Citizen Archivist Dashboard and resources.


              Here are some links to get you started:


              Citizen Archivist Missions


              How-to videos -

              Getting Started: Overview of the Citizen Archivist Dashboard

              How to Tag and Transcribe Records


              Email us any time, we're happy to help - citizenarchivist@nara.gov


              Suzanne Isaacs

              Community Manager, National Archives Catalog

              2 people found this helpful