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Home » About » Blog » Transcription Project Mid-Year Update

As part of the Clements Library’s digitization program, we have started to make selected archival collections available online. To make these materials fully available for research, we welcome volunteers to help us create searchable full-text transcriptions for each page. Learn more and join the project.

Currently Available for Transcription

German Auxiliaries Muster Rolls
Documents relating to Hessian soldiers in the American Revolution.

Great Britain Indian Department Collection
Materials documenting British interactions with Native Americans from 1753 to 1795.

Harriet DeGarmo Fuller Papers
Records of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, kept between 1852 and 1857.

Samson Adams Papers
The estate and business documents of a free African American man in the late 18th century.

Great Britain Indian Department

Workshop Demo

On May 27, Clements staff held a volunteer workshop presenting an overview of the project and a transcription tutorial, including how to transcribe tables. New volunteers may find it helpful to view the workshop recording. The live demonstration of tables begins at 27 minutes into the session. Curator Cheney Schopieray also provided a list of useful abbreviations that may help with deciphering some texts.

Update to the Review Process

Any contribution is welcome, whether you work on a few pages at a time or transcribe large sections of a collection. If you get stuck, you can save what you have and move to another document. The next person to work on it may be able to add or make improvements. We encourage transcribers to check each other’s work, as it often takes several passes through a document to catch everything. The more people who work on a page, the easier it will be for library staff to complete the final review.

The process has changed recently, so please take note of the new save options for your work.

When you are transcribing, it’s a good idea to save regularly so that progress is not lost if you leave the page. To save an incomplete page, press the Save button.

When a page is fully transcribed, be sure to press Done to mark it as complete and ready for review.

If you would like to participate by reviewing others’ work, look for pages that need review. From the collection landing page, press the Pages That Need Review button on the right.

Pages that need review have a note at the top: “This page needs review. You can improve this page by proofreading it against the original and adding or correcting the text, then approve the text.”

When you review, press the Save button for your work. This will still allow library staff to find the page for final review, at which point they will Approve it.

From the Clements Library Chronicles

United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book Transcriptions

Volunteer Forrester “Woody” Lee, who transcribed much of the United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book, provided reflections on his experience and his connection to the collection in a recent blog post. Read more…

2021 Mid-Year Update

The transcription project continues to be a great success, thanks to the efforts of the many participants who have graciously contributed their time and expertise. Every transcription is edited by at least one volunteer and proofread by a library staff member before inclusion in our digital collections.

Six collections are now fully transcribed, proofread, and made available online:
African American History Collection
Jonathan Chase Papers
Lydia Maria Child Papers
Louise Gilman Papers
Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society Papers
United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society Minute Book

A further four collections have been transcribed and are now in the process of review by library staff:
Elizabeth Camp Journals
Henry James Family Correspondence
Samuel Latham Mitchill Papers
James Sterling Letter Book

Thank you to the volunteers, student interns, library staff, and our partners in the Digital Content & Collections team at the U-M Library who have made this work possible. We couldn’t do it without you! The completed transcriptions greatly improve our digital collections by making them easier to read and search.

The Clements Library would like to offer its especial thanks to Andrea Smeeton and her 7th grade class at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois. Director Paul Erickson and Curator Cheney J. Schopieray joined the class by Zoom to introduce the papers of Lydia Maria Child, after which the students worked individually and in groups to transcribe portions of the collection. The results were a great success, helping move the project forward and providing many of us with relief in knowing that future generations continue to learn to read cursive!

Featured Transcription Page

[Lydia Maria Child] ALS to Anna [Loring], July 1, 1871.
Lydia Maria Child Papers.

Wayland, July 1’st, 1871.

Dearest Anna,

I was more than commonly glad to receive
your letter from Carlsbad; for I had begun to feel a little
anxious lest ill-health prevented your writing; and I had fixed
upon tomorrow as the latest date that I would put off writing to
you. Never apologize about letting yourself out concerning
the children. I love to hear all and everything about the
little darlings. I will keep your maternal outpourings
mainly to myself; but when they say anything very funny, or
very astute, I cannot help repeating it to a few appreciative
ears. Miss Osgood rolls up her eyes, and says, in her measured
way, “They must be wonderful children, Mrs. Child.”

You give such a lively picture of Carlsbad, that I
feel as if I had been there. Blessings on the good old lady, who
sells the roses of St. Elizabeth, and makes them turn to bread
again! She enjoys her miracle more than was possible to that
ascetic, priest-ridden, but charming Royal Saint. I want
to go and help that good old lady change roses in to bread,
but then I check the desire by remembering that miracles
can be performed here also. I have seen the
name of Fanny Lewald mentioned among the European
advocates of “Women’s Rights,” but I have never seen any of
her writings. You ask what I think concerning the
political enfranchisement of women. I have for many years
been decidedly in favor of it. I dont feel interested in it as
a right to be claimed, but as the most efficient means of
helping the human race onward to the highest and best state
of society. A really harmonious structure of society re-
quires complete, unqualified companionship between
the sexes. Homes will be nobler, and capable of higher
and fuller happiness, when the mothers, wives, and sisters,
in families, have an understanding sympathy in the investi-
gations of science, the designs of artists, the experiments of the
agriculturist, the enterprises of the merchant, the inventions
of the machinist, the labors of the mechanic, the theories of

Read more…

—Emiko Hastings
Digital Projects Librarian and Curator of Books