Transcribing Chronicling Illinois

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About Transcribing

Chronicling Illinois holds thousands of pages of handwritten diaries, letters, and other texts. While printed texts can be scanned with OCR (optical character recognition) technology to add full text searchability, there’s no such easy fix for handwritten documents. Making these items findable requires time-consuming manual labor to transcribe each item. Our library staff can never transcribe all of these documents, so we are appealing to the public to help out.

Through "crowdsourcing" (engaging volunteers to contribute effort toward large-scale goals) this massive archive of historical materials becomes searchable, allowing researchers to seek out specific information quickly, and general users to browse and enjoy the materials more easily. By volunteering their time to help make these materials more accessible, participants can learn new information about past eras while assisting others. Please join us in preserving our past by keeping the historic record accessible, one document at a time.

How to Transcribe

Anyone is welcome to contribute to the site. No special expertise is required. To transcribe documents, all you need to do is create an account by choosing a username and password, then respond to an e-mail message to verify your information. After confirming your information, simply select a document and type what you read, following a few simple directions.