Transcribe Bentham is testing the feasibility of outsourcing the work of
manuscript transcription to members of the public. UCL Library Services
holds 60,000 folios of manuscripts of the philosopher and jurist Jeremy
Bentham (1748–1832). Transcribe Bentham will digitise 12,500 Bentham
folios, and, through a wiki-based interface, allow volunteer
transcribers to take temporary ownership of manuscript images and to
create TEI-encoded transcription text for final approval by UCL experts.
Approved transcripts will be stored and preserved, with the manuscript
images, in UCL’s public Digital Collections repository. The project
makes innovative use of traditional library material. It will stimulate
public engagement with UCL’s scholarly archive collections and the
challenges of palaeography and manuscript transcription; it will raise
the profile of the work and thought of Jeremy Bentham; and it will
create new digital resources for future use by professional researchers.
Towards the end of the project, the transcription tool will be made
available to other projects and services.