Transcription Opportunities Experience and Volunteerism

Many institutions have begun to turn to the general public for assistance in transcribing historical documents. Working with these documents are ideal for history majors - you can practice with your paleography skills, you can examine documents you would otherwise only be able to see if you traveled to the physical holding location, and you will be contributing worthwhile work to the field that will benefit all scholars.

The list below is listed in alphabetical order - explore the full list for a wide range of opportunities.

Dear Professor Einstein: The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists in Post-War America

Dear Professor Einstein: The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists in Post-War America

A project of Oregon State University, “Dear Professor Einstein” allows transcribers to explore the early letters of the Atomic Age. Many of these letters are personal communications between scientists, and the project allows transcribers to see the scientific community's reactions to the atomic bomb as well as its thoughts on public perception of atomic energy.

The Civil War Letters: A Newberry Library Transcription Project

The Civil War Letters: A Newberry Library Transcription Project

The Newberry Library houses a collection of Civil War letters from Illinois soldiers who lived through the conflict. An interesting feature of this project is that its “searchable transcription feature also allows readers to uncover common themes, conflicts, and emotions that exist across these narratives a s collection.”

New York Public Library: Community Oral History Project

New York Public Library: Community Oral History Project

Closer to the present, the NYPL’s Community Oral History Project creates an archive of the lives of everyday New Yorkers. In this project, you will listen to recently recorded interviews and transcribe their words.

New York Public Library: What's On the Menu?

New York Public Library: What’s On the Menu?

A unique opportunity, the NYPL’s “What’s on the Menu” project allows transcribers the opportunity to record the city’s early restaurant menus. No registration required!

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media: Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800

Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media: Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800

This project, supported by both the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities, allows “Transcription Associates” the opportunity to read through the 45,000 documents produced by the United States War Department in its earliest days of existence.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Transcription Center

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Transcription Center

Digital Volunteers have the opportunity to transcribe a number of sources for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Current transcription projects include working with documents related to the American experience, art and design, the American Civil War, endangered languages, the field book project, the Freedmen’s Bureau, and world cultures (among others).

The University of Iowa: DIY History

The University of Iowa: DIY History

In addition to transcribing documents, volunteers have the opportunity to provide descriptions and comments to 3-D objects as well (which may appeal to those with an eye on future museum studies). Transcription projects include a theater manager’s reports from the early days of vaudeville, pre-1600 manuscripts, documents from the Civil Rights Era, 19th century German immigration records, pioneer diaries and letters, WWII diaries and letters, WWI diaries and letters, documents by early Iowa women, documents related to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, and Civil War diaries and letters.

United States National Archives: Citizen Archivists

United States National Archives: Citizen Archivists

Citizen Archivists have the opportunity to help the National Archives transcribe its digitized material, making the material more accessible to all. Current “missions” include Native American Records, Exploring Space, African American History, documents from the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and applications for enrollment at the Vermillion Lake Indian School from 1910-1918.

Credits:

Created with images by Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC - "Help us transcribe this document! fhp_vf_patterson_0124" • janeb13 - "albert einstein portrait theoretician physician" • Loco Steve - ""John Alexander Logan" - Statue - Washington DC." • edenpictures - "New York Public Library" • Dave Shaver - "Really old menu at Skinners in Lockport, Manitoba, Canada" • Campaign1776 - "Monmouth Battlefield - General von Steuben" • andrewmalone - "Smithsonian Castle" • Provenance Online Project - "Ownership inscription of Gottlieb Paul Christ (1707-1786)" • tpsdave - "national archives washington dc architectural detail"

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