Library wants help transcribing documents

Volunteers are transcribing the writings of Mary Terrell Church.
Volunteers are transcribing the writings of Mary Terrell Church.
Mary Eliza Church Terrell graduated from Oberlin College in 1884, becoming one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree.

   Terrell also led a consequential life as a founding member of the National Association of Colored Women and the NAACP and was at the forefront of the fights for racial equality and women’s suffrage. But when she wasn't doing all that, Terrell (1863-1954) wrote letters and speeches. Many of her works have never been transcribed from the written page to computer.
     That’s where you come in. The U.S. Library of Congress is crowdsourcing efforts to transcribe thousands of pages written by Terrell and others. As part of the project, anyone can go to the library’s website and read the letters and speeches of such notable Americans as Terrell.
     Visitors are also asked to review and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials. The title of the project is By the People. The library points out that the name is taken from a line of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
     In February, the library published the first batch of letters to Lincoln transcriptions. The letters are already searchable on the Library of Congress website, thanks to the work of volunteers. An open source software developed by the library for transcription projects is being used for the project.


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