Transcription Tuesday 2017: Join the Welsh Cynefin team!

By awilliams, 10 January 2017 - 6:32pm

Andy Williams, sales executive on WDYTYA? Magazine, explains why he has chosen to support a project run by Archives Wales for Transcription Tuesday

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Monday 9 January 2016
Andy Williams, Sales Executive 
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Cynefin project

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

The Cynefin project, run by the National Library of Wales, aims to repair and digitise 1,200 19th century maps and over 30,000 pages of index documents and use crowdsourcing to transcribe them. The result will be a free online database to aid with Welsh research.

Raised in Barry with parents from the Rhondda, Welsh family history is a project particularly close to my heart. As a born-and-bred Welshman, I chose this project for Transcription Tuesday to help researchers finding their Welsh lineage and aid in building such a vast database.

The signing up process is relatively straightforward and once you have registered, a useful video appears to talk through the process of transcribing these records. There is also a handy guide that is worth downloading as there are quite a few elements to this transcription project and it takes a little while to get used to it.

With a leaderboard of the top contributors for the previous day, there will be a certain amount of healthy competition that I hope will drive my team on. With no commitment required, as much or as little time as you can dedicate is fine and will really help raise the numbers for Transcription Tuesday.


Getting started

Step 1
Go to and click on ‘sign in’ at the top right-hand corner (where you can also choose to switch to the Welsh version of the website. You can then login with Facebook, Twitter or Google or click ‘register’ to create a username and password. You will be sent an email to confirm the registration and create a password.

Cynefin getting started

Step 2
Select ‘Volunteer Online’ in the top menu to get an overview of the project and what they are asking volunteers to help with.

Cynefin step two

Step 3
Click on the blue link that says ‘volunteer guidelines’ to launch a very handy pdf. It’s worth downloading this and having it to hand while you are getting started or even printing it out, although it is 13 pages long!

Cynefin step three

Step 4
Press the back button to take you back to the overview and then click on ‘Tithe maps’ in the top menu to get started. Click on the county of your choice, then select a parish or township. You are given the options of: Transcribe, Georeference or Visualize. For the purposes of this day we are just going to 'Transcribe'.

Cynefin step 4

Step 5
When you select ‘Transcribe’ you will see a map with its accompanying apportionment document. Words or numbers that have a box on them have been done already. The first time you select 'Transcribe' a demonstration video will start. If you want to watch it again later you will have to click 'Watch video'. I found the ‘volunteer guidelines’ downloaded earlier a useful addition though.

Cynefin step 5

Step 6
Your screen will show a map above and an apportionment document below. You can move the central dividing line up or down so that you can see more or less of the bottom document.

Cynefin step 6

Step 7
To transcribe an apportionment document, drag the central dividing line up so that you just see the document. Next, scroll up or down the panel on the left to find a page that hasn't been worked on (avoid pages that have a green line saying 'In review' or 'Finished' or any pages with boxes over the words). You may have to go back and find another parish as many have now been fully transcribed.

Cynefin step 7

Step 8
Once you have found a page that hasn't been transcribed, start at the top left-hand corner and click on the name in the first column (Landowners). A box will appear and you need to move it to the start of the name, if it isn't there already, and type what you see. The software is quite good at knowing which column your box is in, but check that it is the correct one, especially with the numbers at the end of the line. Don't worry if it takes a while to do the first line. Once you've got used to it you will speed up!

Step 9
To transcribe a map, pull the line dividing the split screen down so that you see more map. Click on a word or number that hasn't got a box on it and the map will darken and a pop-up transcription box will appear. Click and hold down your mouse and swipe over the word to highlight it. Next, type in what you see and press 'save'. A box will then appear over the word or number you have added.

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