Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Transcribe at the arcHIVE

I do worry from time to time that textual analogue records will come to suffer from their lack of searchability when compared with their born-digital peers. For those records that have been digitised, crowd-sourcing transcription could be an answer. A rather neat example of just that is the arcHIVE platform from the National Archives of Australia. arHIVE is a pilot from NAA's labs which allows anyone to contribute to the transcription of records. To get started they have chosen a selection of records from their Brisbane office which are 'known to be popular'. Not too many of them just yet, but at this stage I guess they're just trying to prove the concept works. All the items have been OCR-ed, and users can choose to improve or overwrite the results from the OCR process. There are lots of nice features here, including the ability to choose documents by a difficulty rating (easy, medium or hard) or by type (a description of the series by the looks of it). The competitive may be inspired by the presence of a leader board, while the more collaborative may appreciate the ability to do as much as you can, and leave the transcription for someone else to finish up later. You can register for access to some features, but you don't have to either. Very nice.