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Building a volunteer community: results and findings from Transcribe Bentham

Causer, T; Wallace, V; (2012) Building a volunteer community: results and findings from Transcribe Bentham. Digital Humanities Quarterly , 6 Gold open access

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature examining the burgeoning field of academic crowdsourcing, by analysing the results of the crowdsourced manuscript transcription project, Transcribe Bentham. First, it describes how the project team sought to recruit volunteer transcribers to take part, and discusses which strategies were successes (and which were not). We then examine Transcribe Bentham's results during its six-month testing period (8 September 2010 to 8 March 2011), which include a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of website statistics, work completed by the amateur transcribers, as well as the demographics of the volunteer base and their motivations for taking part. The paper concludes by discussing the success of our community building with reference to this analysis. We find that Transcribe Bentham's volunteer transcribers have produced a remarkable amount of work – and continue to do so, carrying out the equivalent labour of a full-time transcriber – despite the nature and complexity of the task at hand.

Type:Article
Title:Building a volunteer community: results and findings from Transcribe Bentham
Open access status:An open access publication
Publisher version:http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/6/2/000125/000125.html
Language:English
Keywords:Crowdsourcing, Jeremy Bentham, Transcribe Bentham, Volunteer participation, public engagement
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws > Bentham Project

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