Transcription for Archives and Special Collections

More Accessible, Searchable, And Usable Collections — Crowdsource Collaborative Transcription On An Intuitive Easy-To-Use Platform

Do you have digitized files containing rich information you’d like more accessible?

Maximize your efforts, engage researchers, and enlist a community of volunteers with a simple, customizable tool to transcribe historic primary source materials.

Speak directly with the creators and learn how FromThePage can help you unlock the wealth of information in your digitized holdings

Free customized walkthrough of features to craft robust transcription for genealogy research, local history research, and creating ADA accessible materials

Increase resource accessibility with ease — Let us show you how!

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Making primary sources more accessible for all while enhancing remote research, teaching, and coursework

Our goals are to make primary sources unique to Queen’s University more accessible to all, and to enhance remote research, teaching, and coursework opportunities for our faculty and students, this year in particular, while almost all course work is being delivered remotely. Sara and Ben have been the most wonderful team to work with as we started up. They have been responsive to our questions and incredibly helpful in getting us up and running.

Jeremy Heil

Digital and Private Records Archivist at Queen’s University Archives

Our software has been trusted by librarians and archivists at these institutions:

Designed for Special Collections & archive’s unique needs

Helping archivists to transcribe and create searchable resources with ease

No Long Learning Curves

Easy-to-use project owners’ interface and transcribers just type what appears in the sources

Simple controls

Tools to manage public or private transcriber teams

Preserve Your Time

Collaborators choose their work and review workflows are built in

See What FromThePage Has Done For These Librarians & Archivists

By providing accurate transcriptions, translations, and correcting OCR we are removing barriers that prevent access to digital content by people with disabilities

As part of a land grant institution, the library wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. Adhering to this mission requires a further commitment to digital accessibility and the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, digital content by people with disabilities. By providing accurate transcriptions, translations, and correcting OCR, we expand access to this content for all online users in accordance with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility guidelines. Ben and Sara are easy to work with, understand our profession well, and are committed to making the systems we all use easier and better integrated.

Daniel Hartwig

Head of Special Collections and University Archives & Hannah Scates Kettler, Head of Digital Scholarship and Initiatives at Iowa State University

We wanted to enrich our digitized collections, improving both the searchability and the accessibility of our records; a notoriously difficult thing for most archives to do, but here we have a way forward to address accessibility issues, and have full text available for screen readers. From an administrator's perspective, this had to be one of the easiest platforms to start up. It took all of 10-20 minutes to get our account and project started, and our transcriber managed to transcribe 20 pages before the end of the first day! Honestly, the barrier-to-entry is almost non-existent, and the rewards can be seen almost immediately. The dashboard and summary give us some great stats, and let us know who our most active volunteers are. Now, we can leverage the power of a whole world of volunteers to spend a few minutes here and there in a week to significantly improve the accessibility of our holdings.

Heather Home

Public Services and Private Records Archivist at Queen’s University Archives

Like many archives at the university level, we are eager for students to use archival collections in an intellectually rigorous way. Students and alumni find that crowdsourcing transcription is fun and interesting, as well as academically substantive. Having the documents transcribed enables us to ask different questions and to automate larger-scale data exploration of the primary sources. FromThePage is such a feature-rich, easy-to-use platform that using it for archival records about early Chinese students has been a worthwhile, key phase of our larger project. We have been so fortunate to have FromThePage to keep people engaged with the archives remotely during the pandemic. It is a very intuitive platform for archives and volunteers.

Paige Roberts

Director of Archives and Special Collections at Phillips Academy in Andover, Maryland

Improve The Accessibility Of Your Holdings Utilizing Volunteer Transcribers

Collaborate with ease

Whether you have an established team or are looking to crowdsource help, we provide a platform that allows you to track, control, oversee, and review projects painlessly.

Receive experienced crowdsourcing guidance

Even if you’ve never crowdsourced before, we help you set everything up and provide advice on how to encourage volunteers to become transcribers for your projects.

Get Real Live Human Support

Always get your questions answered by us directly, the developers of the software. That way you get the support and help you need faster, no extra steps.

Reclaim your time with simple, intuitive tools

No reason to struggle sorting through a complex set of tools that makes no sense for your primary source materials. Streamlined, intuitive tools for your specific needs can be curated to make work easier for you and collaborators.

Secure customized support for your collection’s particular projects

We have experience advising many institutions how to use our wealth of tools for their specific materials, even if it’s a little out of the box. If you have a unique need, we are passionate about helping you meet it.

Forget reinventing the wheel with our plug-and-play solution

Skip the frustration of trying to create your own transcription process or software. We’ve anticipated the essential features you want and need; developing a superior software tool for the solution of more searchable documents.

Revolutionize Your Resource Usability While Increasing Public Engagement

With FromThePage you get powerful transcription, annotation, metadata, and indexing capabilities to create searchable documents to expand the community that can access them. Also, the user-friendly interface provides remote volunteering opportunities simply, without overloading you or your team with time consuming tasks.

Whether you plan to crowdsource transcription projects from your special collections and archives, or utilize an internal team, we can advise on what features have helped our many successful clients set up their systems for efficiency and ease of use.

Our software has been utilized by many special collections and archives. The diverse projects we’ve supported include transcription of institutional correspondence, WWI service cards, journals and diaries, administrative records, financial ledgers, and community histories. We would love to walk you through how FromThePage can help you take your rich historic holdings and make them more accessible.

Ready for a reliable platform that enhances the speed and accuracy of transcription, while being simple enough to feel easy?

Schedule a Free Demo

The Perfect Software Solution To Turn Digitized Collection Content Into Findable Materials

With our custom demo of the software we show you how FromThePage can be configured to accomplish your specific goals with your actual materials. One way we do this is by sharing case studies of other users to show how our features can support your transcription needs in a variety of ways.

The following features are especially relevant and utilized by librarians and archivists:

Crowdsourced & Collaborative Transcription & Translation.

Support your programming with an online component of public engagement of transcription and translation of primary source materials.

Deep Zoom.

Collaborators can zoom to decipher difficult handwriting on uploaded documents.

Collaboration.

Page level comments and discussion create a rich experience for transcribers to become more knowledgeable and precise over-time.

Version Control & Track Changes.

Tools to oversee, track, control, and review projects so you can maintain high-quality contributions.

Configurable Fields.

Field-based transcription to support pre-printed forms allows transcription of structured data from index cards, government forms, spreadsheets, and questionnaires.

Metadata Creation Via Custom Forms.

Standardized metadata fields can be created so that users can create item-level metadata.

Private Projects.

Project owners can grant access to specific people only if they wish. This can restrict access to projects to only staff members, members of a research group, or members of indigenous or descendant communities.

OCR Correction.

Review of an OCR text compared to the original source document allows for human corrected transcriptions.

Indexing & Annotation.

Users may tag subjects like toponyms or personal names, automatically creating an index in the text, preserving variant phrases or spellings used to refer to the same subject.

Integration Via IIIF & CONTENTdm.

Import options to load collections and associated metadata as simply as entering URLs.

Making It Possible To Simplify Collaborative Transcription

In our experience, the people that are drawn to this type of volunteering are very detail oriented, passionate, curious, and committed. You can set customized guidelines, designated reviewers, and allow version history viewing to help transcribers become more precise over time.

You can upload documents in small amounts over time, the work is all defined by your project timeline. Also, training staff or expert volunteers to be in a reviewer role means your time doesn’t need to be monopolized by review of transcriptions. And keeping tabs on work is easy, our nightly activity reports show you progress in your inbox every morning.

The extensive list of projects we’ve consulted on allows us to make suggestions to make sure your projects will be successful and will not take excess time and effort on your part.

We can help. The information we provide can be used to explain how this software will radically increase the usability of the resources while cultivating community engagement, allowing for the development of research initiatives, as well as enhancing collection accessibility for interoperability and supporting digital preservation.

We’ve worked in research computing for the humanities and social sciences, so we can advise on what helps make grant applications more compelling.

The information we can provide to reinforce your application includes similar case studies to show how FromThePage is essential to providing readable, searchable collections and how it’s been successfully used by many others to do just that.

We go so far as to help with Letters of Support and Budget Line item breakdowns so including FromThePage in your grant applications is seamless.

After our custom demo call, if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, we can recommend different approaches, other collaborators, or other platforms if they’re more appropriate — we really don’t want you to use our software if it’s wrong for your needs.

We do want you to be successful. We will support you however we can in charting your path to reach your library's goals.

We can share examples of other projects that are doing similar work. This allows us to strategize with you on how best to tackle your particular materials and gives you an idea of the vast variety of projects we’ve supported.

It is our mission to make it easier, more enjoyable, and more productive to expand your online offerings. We will help you set up your interface so you are ready to hit the ground running, with your team or with volunteers. We can help you with recruitment strategies and also promote the project through the FromThePage website to our established, enthusiastic transcriber community.

The flexibility of the platform coupled with the import/export options and the support of many different document types means integration is really simple.

If you have any questions along the way, we are available to answer them by email or chat. We can also set up a meeting to share our screen and walk through the platform functions with you.

You will never be left banging your head against your desk, we promise.

Put Our Understanding Of Your Library’s Needs To Work For You

  • We know your community is underserved by technologists. We are changing that.
  • As experienced software developers we have created a tool that works incredibly well, but more importantly it works well to make transcription of your library resources efficient and easy.
  • For every client we start by diving deep on your particular materials with you to talk through optimal transcription strategies and set-up.
  • It’s as easy as adding digitized documents to FromThePage and inviting your community to help transcribe those materials.
  • We present an image of the uploaded page to a user and a place for them to type what's on the page. Those two things together make magic, but the magic is done by humans.
  • No need to wonder if our software can measure up to your unique holdings, we are happy to share case studies to highlight a wide variety of use cases.

Case Studies Using FromThePage

The Iowa State University Library has loaded 43 collections totaling more than 42,000 pages into FromThePage with the goal of providing accurate transcriptions to expand access to content for all online users. A variety of Special Collections & University Archives materials are worked on by crowdsourced collaborators. Six collections have been made available to the public with more released as they are fully transcribed. Check out how easy the upload process has been for them here.

FromThePage allows the public to have meaningful interaction with the Genealogy, Local History & Archives Unit of the Fort Worth Public Library. Over 8,000 pages have been transcribed in a little over a year. Volunteers enjoy making a contribution to the historical record by transcribing hand-written or type-written documents, helping make digitized records more useful to researchers by speeding up the indexing process. Learn more about this crowdsourcing success here.

Ohio University Libraries uses FromThePage to generate transcriptions and descriptive metadata for dance posters in their collection. This project is a hybrid project, transcriptions are generated along with text from the posters captured through standardized metadata fields. This allows more accessibility and findability by users, also allowing discovery of related posters based on the standardized fields. See examples of how to capture metadata for your collection here.

Adam Rabinowitz, a Classics Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, uses FromThePage as a teaching tool in an undergraduate course. Each student is assigned to find the primary source materials in the archive and transcribe any letter in the collection using FromThePage. Then a larger collection of transcribed letters are provided to write a paper. Read more on Adam’s use of transcription for pedagogy here.

Heather Home and Jeremy Heil of Queen's University Archives use FromThePage to make primary source material more accessible, searchable, and usable. Transcription helps foster research, reveal information, and highlight materials that are often thought to be “hidden” due to the fact that their contents are not easily searchable how people have become accustomed. As they increase their digitization projects find out more about how FromThePage is providing ways to improve the discoverability of their immense holdings here.

What Others Are Saying About FromThePage

FromThePage has proven to be a very versatile tool. It’s a great platform for collaborative work, making it easy for all users to simultaneously edit, review, and track progress within a collection. The management features also allow a lot of flexibility. Using the field-based transcription option, for example, we’ve created projects to tag works and collect metadata so our collaborators can assist with content description, in addition to transcribing. The software lends itself to creative uses by allowing administrators to configure projects and access the data in a variety of ways.

Erin Wilson

Digital Imaging Specialist and Lab Manager at Ohio University Libraries

The killer feature that takes FromThePage well beyond other transcription interfaces I have seen [...] is the powerful yet simple wiki-like annotation and indexing feature. Using simple double brackets, or an optional automatic suggested markup feature, simple transcriptions immediately become “tagged” (though only for items explicit in a text, rather than arbitrary tags) in a truly powerful way, allowing visitors to find documents through a index of subjects, places, or people – or jump immediately from linked subjects within a text to others like it in what becomes a rich hypertext environment.

Konrad Lawson

"Crowdsourced Transcription: FromThePage and Scripto"; ProfHacker, Chronicle of Higher Education

With all of its features, FromThePage has proven to be incredibly useful for us in cultivating community engagement, developing research initiatives, and enhancing collection accessibility. This is primarily due to the customization the platform enables. On the one hand, project contributors have the ability to reconfigure with relative ease their workspace and workflows, such as using dictation to transcribe. On the project management side, the import and export features being designed and deployed as part of the NEH-funded work with UT Libraries will greatly facilitate the movement of collections between our institutional repositories and the platform to expedite access and preserve citizen scholarship.

Allyssa Guzman

Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin Libraries & Albert Palacios, Digital Scholarship Coordinator at the University of Texas for the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections

2,344,054

Pages — and counting!

Schedule A Live Demo To Get A Personalized Walk-Through

FromThePage allows you to make your digitized collection content more accessible, searchable, and ultimately more usable. You can even engage volunteers in citizen scholarship while you do it!

Volunteer transcription is a great way for people to make a real difference from their home, whether they are making access to public documents easier, highlighting people forgotten by the historic records, or spotlighting a particular person or community.

Whether you transcribe internally or crowdsource with volunteers, we are here to help. If we don’t currently have the functionality you need, we will develop the solution collaboratively with you, or we will suggest alternate collaborators or platforms to help you reach your goals.

That’s what you get when you have developers that are fully invested in your success.

Reserve your call to learn how FromThePage can expand collection usability!
Schedule a Free Demo