Transcription Tuesday 2017: Join the team!

By Editor, 10 January 2017 - 6:33pm

Sarah Williams, editor of WDYTYA? Magazine, explains why she has chosen to help the project for our first-ever Transcription Tuesday event

  • Register for Transcription Tuesday 2017 here
  • Click here to read blog posts about the five other projects
Sarah Williams is editor at Who Do You Think You Are? MagazineMonday 9 January 2016
Sarah Williams, editor
Read more blog posts from the magazine team


Come and join me on Tuesday 17 January for a mammoth day of transcription for the project.

The Great Britain 1900 project is an ambitious attempt to transcribe maps from across the UK making them easier for family and local historians to use.

Optical Character Recognition (or OCR) software doesn't cope well with the kind of text found on historic maps and so the partners behind this project (including the University of Portsmouth, the National Library of Wales and the National Library of Scotland) have set up a website that enables volunteers to help transcribe as little or as much as they want.

Once logged in, a transcriber just has to click on the first letter in a piece of text and type out what they see. Anything that you have transcribed will have a brown marker pointing to it.

You will also see green markers that indicate places where just one transcriber has typed it up and purple where two have agreed on a transcription. The idea is for every piece of text on the maps to have been transcribed by two people, who agree, to improve accuracy.

It's quite addictive and the site recommends that you do an equal amount of new transcriptions and green marker checking transcriptions (they have a leader board of transcribers and they choose the lower number out of the two kinds of transcriptions, so if you want to be near the top, it's important to do a similar number of both).

The great thing is, you can add personal information about a place that will then be attached to that location for other researchers to see.

I hope that I will get lots of volunteers joining me on 17 January for our first-ever Transcription Tuesday event. Even if you can't give more than half an hour, every little bit counts.

Please register your involvement in the day and which project you will be supporting by clicking here. We also strongly recommend that people register with the project they are interested in before the day.

Getting started

Step 1
The first thing you will need to do is register with the website. Go to and click on 'log in' in the top menu.

Step 2
You can then choose to login with Facebook, which is the quicker option if you are already on Facebook, or select 'Sign up with us'. If you sign up using Facebook you will be ready to start transcribing straight away.

Step 3
Otherwise you will have to give a few details to enable the site to check that two separate people have transcribed each word. On the sign up page, please select 'Transcription Tuesday' from the drop-down menu that asks 'How did you hear about GB1900?'

Step 4
Once you have registered you will be asked to choose between English or Welsh as your chosen language.

Step 5
Your name will appear on the top menu. You should now choose 'Tutorial' from the top menu and follow the step-by-step tutorial, clicking on 'next' to move on to each page.

Step 6
Once you have completed the tutorial, go back to the homepage and type the location you are interested in transcribing into the 'Enter a location' box and press 'Go'.

Step 7
This should centre the map on the area you are interested in. Next, click 'Transcribe'. There is a slider bar in the top right-hand corner that lets you toggle between the old OS map (c1900) and a modern map.

You will need to transcribe in the historic map mode as the markers point to the first letter of words in that map, not the modern one. In the left top-hand corner there is a plus and minus button that enables you to scroll in and out.

Now click on the first letter of a word and start typing.

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