Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Is it worth transcribing for publication any more?
I entered the genealogical community in the digital age. Straight transcribing of documents or records seems like a dicey prospect to me. The problem is if you choose a large project to transcribe, will an organization have it scanned and indexed before you finish your transcription project? That means you need to very carefully select the project you are willing to take on.
The Alternative to Simple Transcription
I believe the wave of the future where genealogists can make the most impact is with value-added projects. These are projects where you are forced you analyze or refine the original raw data and present that new grouping for publication.
For instance, consider warning out notices in early New England record books. It might not be worth transcribing the entire record books because they are already microfilmed and are potential (albeit much later) targets for scanning projects. However, it may be worth extracting the warning out notices that randomly fall within the text of the record books. This too has its pitfalls. If the entire record book is scanned and indexed then others can find what they need quickly from the index. To make this effort truly value-added it would be good to provide further information on the people listed in the warning outs rather than simply what is found in the record books. Perhaps information from vital or census records would add just the needed content to make your content unique.
Think Before Your Start
Before you take on a large transcription project in the hope of publishing it, think about how you can ensure that your project will be worth the effort in the event that someone digitizes it before you finish.
Photo Credit: Photo by kevinzim used under the creative commons license.
Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis at 7:34 AM