The Boston Public Library needs your help transcribing anti-slavery documents

Citizens of Boston

The Boston Public Library has an impressive collection of anti-slavery documents and they are looking for volunteers to help them bring the collection online in a digital format.

Here is a taste of the project:

The Boston Public Library’s Anti-Slavery collection—one of the largest and most important collections of abolitionist material in the United States—contains roughly 40,000 pieces of correspondence, broadsides, newspapers, pamphlets, books, and memorabilia from the 1830s through the 1870s.

The primary production goal of this project is to gain a complete corpus of machine-readable text from these handwritten documents. There are no software programs that can accurately convert handwriting into characters that a computer can understand as an actual letter, number, or symbol. Once the documents have all been transcribed and converted into this machine-readable text, we will upload the text into our repository systemand index them along with their corresponding image files. Users will then be able to search the full text of the letters across the entire collection.

We also plan to make the transcriptions available as a complete, open access data set, with the intention that the corpus will be exposed to machine learning, topic modeling, and other natural language processing and computer.

Learn more here.