By Lesley Parilla, Field Book Project
Over the last two and a half years the Field Book Project has worked in various ways to make field book content more searchable and accessible to researchers. We’ve identified, cataloged, and completed needed conservation on thousands of field books. With the support of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and Smithsonian Institution Archives, we’ve even begun page level digitization. Now we’re excited to be contributing materials to the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center, currently in beta testing.
As our Handwriting Contest in January demonstrated, field books are often hand written, meaning they are frequently not good candidates for OCR (Optical Character Recognition). We’re particularly excited to be part of this developing site because transcription will enable field book text to be fully word searchable.
We’d like to invite you to take a look at the new site. Check out the field books and other great Smithsonian materials that are available for transcription. Try your hand at interpreting their hand. Your efforts can help scholars discover the rich content buried in the pages.
If you’re not sure where to start, watch our twitter feed. Over the next few months we’ll be tweeting which new field books are being made available to transcribe.