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National Museum of American History

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National Museum of American History

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National Museum of American History

#FWTrueLove Transcription Challenge

National Museum of Natural History
The Field Book Project presents, in partnership with the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Pyenson Lab, Smithsonian Transcription Center, Smithsonian Archives, and Smithsonian Libraries: an F.W. True Love story. Starting now, the Frederick William True field notes are LIVE in the Smithsonian Transcription Center. There are four projects so far and you...

Celebrating Volunteers: Smithsonian Transcription Center meeting - 15 March 2016

Smithsonian Institution
In this meeting of Smithsonian Transcription Center's participating museums and archives, representatives and volunteers discuss their experiences -- and future plans -- making Smithsonian Institution digitized collections more accessible through transcription. Note: Video feed varied during the event; this edit contains all audio from the event, as well as some zoomed-in footage.

Experiences from the Smithsonian Transcription Center - MicroPasts Conference - 31Mar15

Smithsonian Institution
An overview of some of the context, workflow, and successes of the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Join us at https://transcription.si.edu and help enrich and make Smithsonian Institution collections more accessible.

Princeton Posters Catalog Sheet Survey Form 689 Transcription Demonstration

Smithsonian Institution
This video demonstrates how to transcribe the different pages and fields in the Survey Form Version 689 of catalog sheets from the National Museum of American History's Princeton University Poster Collection of World War I and World War II posters. You can learn more about the project, and read further instructions here: https://transcription.si.edu/node/40/.

Princeton Posters Catalog Sheet Survey Form 1300 Transcription Demonstration

Smithsonian Institution
This video demonstrates how to transcribe the different pages and fields in the Survey Form Version 1300 of catalog sheets from the National Museum of American History's Princeton University Poster Collection of World War I and World War II posters. You can learn more about the project, and read further instructions here: https://transcription.si.edu/node/40/.

Paleobiology in the TC: Collections, Labels, and Your Transcription

Smithsonian Institution
Kathy Hollis from the National Museum of Natural History - Department of Paleobiology takes time to tell us more about the collections, arrangements, and kinds of information you'll find in the Marine Invertebrates projects in the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Your help is needed to unlock and better structure important analog data from the labels in their collection. Learn more here: https://transcription.si.edu/instructions-paleobiology

Connecting the Dots through Transcription

National Museum of Natural History
By Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D., Project Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center While it’s true that we think of the Transcription Center as a site of discovery, we don’t always anticipate which specific connections will be uncovered in the process of transcription. Recently, I had the opportunity to learn about the delight of...

Transcription of the Prajnaparamita sutra

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Capturing the Hive Mind: How to Transcribe Bees with the Smithsonian Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution
Learn how to transcribe our Bumblebee Projects with this video and you'll help the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and Department of Entomology make this information more useful for researchers. Detailed instructions can also be found at https://transcription.si.edu/instructions-entomology

Facebook Live: Smithsonian Institution Archives: "From Our Collection to the Transcription Center"

Smithsonian Institution
How does a field book make its way from Smithsonian Institution Archives' collections, to the Smithsonian Transcription Center, and onto your screen? We went behind-the-scenes into the amazing work of SIA's preservation team to show you the #MaterialMatters and stories behind a select few items from their collection. This video was recorded on April 27, 2018. Feel free to comment with any questions, or reach out to us directly at transcribe@si.edu or to the Smithsonian Institution Archives staff at osiaref@si.edu.

Boethius Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries has been contributing manuscripts from our collections to the Smithsonian Transcription Center for digital volunteers (or Volunpeers) to transcribe for over a year now. We’ve featured a variety of materials, from a vocabulary of the Potawatomi language, to shipboard diaries, to natural history field books and aeronautical scrapbooks. These works have all more »

Potawatomi Vocabulary Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
J.N. Bourassa’s A Vocabulary of the Po-da-wahd-mih Language is the latest addition from the Libraries to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. The Vocabulary was transcribed around 1890 from the original, which dates to 1843. The Potawatomi have traditionally inhabited the Upper Mississippi River region as well as Indiana and Kansas, and are making efforts to promote the more »

A.W. Quilter journal added to Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
The travel journals of A.W. Quilter document his adventures in East Africa between 1909-1911, while on safari and engaging in big game hunting. These fascinating tales are now available in the Transcription Center for volunteers to read and review. While a great deal is still unknown about Quilter, for instance was he British or not, more »

Join us for #ManyHatsofHolmes Transcription Event

National Museum of Natural History
Please join us this week through December 9th as the Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Field Book Project and Smithsonian Transcription Center host the #ManyHatsofHolmes transcription event at Smithsonian's Transcription Center. William Henry Holmes was an important figure of the Smithsonian throughout the 19th and 20th...

Can You Dig It? #FossilFossick transcription challenge

National Museum of Natural History
Did you know that October 14 is Fossil Day? What do you think you might learn if we unleashed notes on the mighty and micro fossilized specimens in the Smithsonian Institution’s collections? Let’s time travel together with our scientists - to their field sites, their discoveries, and the mysteries they...

Looking for a Transcription Challenge? #DigintoDyar

National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Libraries is heading up a new challenge -- the field books of Harrison Dyar. Harrison Dyar was a entomologist who primarily studied Lepidoptera. His colorful personal life (which included a hobby of digging tunnels under his home) sometimes overshadowed his impressive professional achievements. Here is your chance to dig...

Increasing Access: The Smithsonian Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Kristin Conlin, Volunteer, Digital Services Division

'WilliamThe natural world is riddled with complex mathematics that only adds to nature's allure and depth. Don't fear, no math equations will be used in this post, nor will you be required to prove a theorem after you finished reading. Those attributes can be used to relate the digitization efforts of the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the work transcribers contribute to the Field Book Project.  Do I still have you? 

'ColoredRemember what I said about no math being required.  The mollusk shell pictured here was drawn by William Healey Dall and is a prime example for this analogy.  Each subsequent layer of the shell is dependent on the previous curl’s proportions and formation. Much like the shells collected and cataloged by Dall, the Smithsonian Transcription Center is built on the contributions (or layers) of its digital volunteers. This progressive and symbiotic relationship is best explained by following the progress of the digitization of the William Healey Dall field books.

As part of the Field Book Project, many field books have now been preserved and cataloged. During the course of these activities, if a field book is identified as being a good match for the needs and interests of the digital volunteers of the Smithsonian Transcription Center, the materials are then digitized.

In the case of William Healey Dall, there is a plethora of potential candidates for transcription.  Most recently his field books from Record Unit 7213 - Western Union Telegraph Expedition Collection were digitized. This collection spans the course of several years and describes most of the Pacific coastline as well as the specimens Dall collected during his travels.  Dall collected mollusk and cephalopod specimens, drew detailed geological accounts of various volcanos and coastlines, as well as documented his daily travels, routines, and remarkable geological and malacological discoveries. The conditions he endured and recorded during his time in Alaska and the Yukon offer a glimpse at the mental fatigue of the Arctic as well as the reverence Dall held for nature. 

The fortitude required to keep from becoming fully engrossed with his writing myself is almost comparable to what was required of Dall during his lonely but fulfilling travels. While I didn’t endure weeks in sub zero conditions without respite, digitizing documents does involve long hours scanning hundreds of pages, building spreadsheets, and arduous metadata creation. Yet, in both Dall and my case, our labors were rewarded. 

Twitter conversation at the Smithsonian Transcription Center to clarify some questions about transcription.Creating rich metadata for the digitized field book ensures that all documents are properly cataloged and available for users to access as soon as they are made available online. At that point, anyone can see and download the images of the field book. The field books are also simultaneously loaded to the Smithsonian Transcription Center’s database and launched as a transcription project. Digital volunteers can then choose the collection to work on and engage in a collaborative endeavor to decipher the handwritten documents. In some cases, the penmanship is unique but legible. In others, collaboration is involved to figure out the meaning of the scrawled text and how to best catalog the field books in a uniform manner. The conversation to the left illustrates the iterative process of transcribing and building a set of standards for cataloging. 

Once a field book is completely transcribed, the second half of the Smithsonian Transcription Center’s work begins. 

For the second part of this post about the further work of the Smithsonian Transcription Center, check back at the beginning of September. Until then, if this post has sparked your interest in becoming a digital volunteer for the Smithsonian Transcription Center please sign up and start transcribing.  If you’d simply like to see the digitized field books, we invite you to browse the collections.  

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Transcription of Kamiya Sotan diary entry, 1587.1.6

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Transcription of Shang dynasty oracle inscriptions

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Arabic Transcription of an Unidentified Inscription [drawing]

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
- Title is provided by Xavier Courouble, FSg Archives cataloger.

Finding aid available in the Archives Department and on Internet http://www.asia.si.edu/archives/finding_aids/herzfeld.html#series5

John Kerr Tiffany Manuscript Added to Smithsonian Transcription Center

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
John Kerr Tiffany (1842-1897) of St. Louis, Missouri is considered one of the earliest stamp collectors (known as philatelists) in the United States and belongs to the American Philatelic Society’s Hall of Fame. Tiffany was also the first president of the society in 1886 and was re-elected the following ten years, until he decided to more »
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