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About the project

Alone in a crowd … transcribing together” is a crowdsourcing campaign by Cambridge Digital Library with the aim of transcribing digitised material that does not have any existing research project to do so.

As much of the University of Cambridge is currently physically closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, we have been turning our attention to the possibilities of what can be achieved remotely.

At its core, Cambridge Digital Library values access, collaboration, engagement, innovation and inspiration. In these times of physical isolation, digital platforms can provide a focal point for those with a variety of interests and skills to come together as a community.

Our digital objects are not simply facsimiles. While fantastic images of unique and distinctive collections provide virtual access, transcription unlocks their potential to be something more than the original item. The benefits include:

  • Aiding discovery – with so much digital content, it can be tricky to explore
  • Enriching our understanding and aiding accessibility
  • The application of further digital research methods eg automated analysis

What are we transcribing?

We have so much amazing content that it’s difficult to know where to start. To get this going, we’d like to focus on a collection of nearly 400 small notebooks used by botanist Oliver Rackham. A Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Rackham would record his observations of nature in these notebooks.

Now part of the archive collections at Corpus Christi, they contain a wealth of data about the natural world that’s just shouting out to be unlocked by being transcribed!

If you want to know more about Rackham and his work, check out the Oliver Rackham Collection page on Cambridge Digital Library, where you can also explore the notebooks.

Go to the project website

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