Cool Toys Pic of the Day – FromthePage



In their own words:

“FromThePage is free software that allows volunteers to transcribe handwritten documents online. It’s easy to index and annotate subjects within a text using a simple, wiki-like mark-up. Users can discuss difficult writing or obscure words within a page to refine their transcription. The resulting text is hosted on the web, making documents easy to read and search.”

This is an interesting little website that allows laypersons, families, friends, and communities to work on transcribing handwritten manuscripts. I started by signing up, which was quick and easy, but not secure, so be sure to use a throw-away password for this site. From there, you can choose to view collections on the site, transcribe unfinished pages, or request a project to be added to the site.

I went to the dashboard first (link in the upper right) and found that it was difficult to determine what was complete, and where I should start. I went back to the home page and found a link there under “How do I get started” that took me to the next page needing transcription in the current project. From there, it was quite easy. Passages either have a transcription to the left of the image, or they say “Help transcribe this page!” Clicking on that link takes you to the pictured interface.

There is an edit box on the left with instructions below it. The instructions include what spelling should be used (original), what punctuation should be used (periods can be added, but not commas), and how to handle illegible or questionable sections (brackets). Once completed, you submit the piece for editing and that’s it. Thankfully you can zoom in and out on the page also, otherwise my old eyes never would have lasted.

Although there aren’t a lot of updates on the GitHub site for the software, the new transcriptions and edits are all within the last few hours, so the site is getting traffic. This could be a great resource if your library has manuscripts it would like to offer for transcription, or if you have personal items that you’d like help tagging and classifying.

This is a guest post by Chris Bulin (@Arduanne), a graduate student assistant at the Taubman Health Sciences Library.


2 thoughts on “Cool Toys Pic of the Day – FromthePage

  1. I’m so glad you checked out FromThePage. Your feedback about knowing what to do next is really valuable — it’s a hard thing to balance with the desire some transcribers have to claim a particular text as their “own”, and to resent anyone else editing “their” text.

    One extremely minor clarification — the instructions on transcription conventions (i.e. whether to modernize spelling, punctuation, etc.) are set by the organization that uploaded the work, so that they can vary from text to text.

    • Thanks Ben! I’m glad the feedback is helpful. I only worked with one document, so the additional information about conventions is helpful too. I really enjoyed the site and wish you the best of luck with it!

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