Transcription Tuesday 2018: Join the Measuring the ANZACs team!

By Editor, 9 January 2018 - 10:39am

For WDYTYA? Magazine’s second annual Transcription Tuesday event on 23 January, Seth Burgess will be transcribing personnel files for New Zealanders who fought for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the First World War. In this blog post, he explains why you should join him…

  • Register for Transcription Tuesday 2018 here
  • Click here to read blog posts about the four other projects
Tuesday 9 January 2018
Seth Burgess, Production Editor
Read more blog posts from the magazine team

Measuring the Anzacs home page
Help create a free searchable database of New Zealand WW1 personnel files

For this year’s Transcription Tuesday on 23 January, I’ll be transcribing the personnel files of New Zealanders from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the First World War, including attestation papers when they enlisted, history sheets recording major events in their military service, and the death notices of veterans who returned home.

This international project to transcribe 140,000 servicemen’s files is uncovering the full picture of Anzacs’ lives before and during the Great War, and what happened to them afterwards.

Although the war ended a century ago, we still have a lot to learn about the different experiences of individual troops on the front line, and the impact of the ordeal that they went through.

Teaming up with the researchers across the globe working on this project is a great way to commemorate and celebrate these New Zealanders who fought so far from home, in the Middle East and on the Western Front – and, of course, unlock priceless data for family historians!

And the fact that you’re working with a wide range of documents, some of which feature unfamiliar place names and unusual abbreviations, means that the transcription has a lot of variety and interest, and will keep you on your toes – your skills will get a real workout.

I hope you’ll join me as I work to help the project, and enjoy giving something back to family history. Don’t forget to let me know the final total of the number of records you worked on for Transcription Tuesday. Just email me at the end of the day (I would love to hear how you got on) and don't forget to register for your chosen project here. Good luck!

Getting started

Step 1
Here is the project homepage at At the far right of the menu bar at the top of the screen you can see a LOG IN button, which enables you to register with Zooniverse, the citizen-science website that hosts the project online. Registering is quick and easy – you only need to supply a username, email address and password – and enables you to ask questions about a specific record on the project’s forum.

However, even if you do register, the project’s website doesn’t ‘remember’ your activity, or keep a tally of how many records you’ve transcribed. So you need to do that manually.

Anzacs step one

Step 2
Click ‘FIELD GUIDE’ in the centre of the menu bar to access the project’s thorough and clearly written help pages, including advice on how to approach transcribing, explanations of the different types of record you’ll be working with, and the unusual abbreviations you’ll encounter.

It's definitely worth taking 10-15 minutes to glance through these help pages before you get stuck in. You will probably want to keep some of them open in a separate tab or window as you're working for easy reference, or even print them out.

Anzacs step two

Step 3
From the Field Guide, click the ‘ANZAC’ logo at the top left of the menu bar to return to the home page.

You can choose between marking – identifying the type of information that different sections of a record hold, and transcribing – typing in information that has been marked up.

Evan Roberts, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota who works on the project, says that it’s more useful for us to transcribe rather than mark. So click ‘START TRANSCRIBING’, or ‘TRANSCRIBE’ in the menu bar.

Anzacs step three

Step 4
The website will show you the next record that needs transcribing, and highlight a section to transcribe first. Type the correct text into the ‘Transcribe entry’ dialog. However, if you think that the record has been badly marked and the category of information that has been suggested for the highlighted section is incorrect, click ‘Bad mark’ in the ‘Transcribe entry’ dialog. This will flag the record for another transcriber to review, and take you to the next section or the next record if this one is now complete. Don’t forget to add the completed record to your running total. If you’re struggling to decipher the handwriting, the advice in the relevant section of the Field Guide will probably solve the problem.

Anzacs step four

Step 5
If you’re transcribing an unfamiliar location and aren’t sure of the spelling, you can always check it online. Wikipedia has a helpful list of towns in New Zealand:

Anzacs step five

Step 6
If the handwriting in the highlighted section is still problematic, transcribe the words that you can and type "<illegible>" for any words that you can't make out, eg "Rejoined Unit from <illegible>" if you can read the first three words but not the fourth. However, if the whole section is illegible, click ‘Illegible?’ to flag the record for another transcriber to review and move on to the next section, or the next record if the current one is now complete. Again, make sure that you add the completed record to your running total.

Step 7
If there are no problems and you’re happy with your transcription, click ‘Continue’ to move on to the next section of the record, or the next record if the current one is now complete. Again, remember to add the record to your tally.

Anzacs step 7

Step 8
You may also be asked to describe a record as part of the transcription process. As before, you can choose ‘Bad mark’ or ‘Illegible’ if necessary.

Anzacs step 8


Transcription Tuesday 2018: Join the Cardiganshire Great War Tribunals team!
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Transcription Tuesday 2018: Join the Cardiganshire Great War Tribunals team!
previous blog Article
10 family history websites to watch in 2018
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