The Roberson Project has entered into a trial membership with a crowd-sourced transcription website called FromThePage.

FromThePage allows users to aid in the transcription of archival documents. The website, like the National Archive’s “citizen archivist” program and the Smithsonian’s “digital volunteers” project, seeks not only to digitize and transcribe documents, but also to make history more transparent and accessible. Other institutions that have taken advantage of FromThe Page are the University of Virginia, Stanford, and many local historical societies.

The transcription process is relatively simple. First click on FromThePage; then register as a user.

Once you have made an account on the site, you can navigate to the Roberson Project's Page (bookmark this page for easy access). From our project page, you can access an array documents excavated from the University Archives. Click on a document name — for example Fairbanks_Papers_Box_2_Document_1 — then select the link to "help transcribe." At this level, you can utilize your skill at reading nineteenth-century handwriting and begin your transcription! Just remember to your save changes.

The page also offers a comment section at the bottom of the page. In your transcription, did any content, patterns, or irregularities stand out to you? Please let us know!

Our goals for this project are twofold. First, this will create searchable and legible copies of the university's documents. Second, and more important, we hope that this program can be a tool for engaging the wider Sewanee community in the research of the project. Alumni, parents, friends — anyone can log in, read, and transcribe the documents that we have found.

Encouraging interaction with primary sources will lead to a diversity of perspectives and introduce alumni and friends to the complicated and often troubling history of our university. These goals align well with FromThePage's own mission: “At its best, crowd-sourcing is not about getting someone to do work for you; it is about offering your users the opportunity to participate in public memory.”

From the Page: How To Guide