Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crowd sourcing transcription - is it useful?

Everyone knows that people have been busy at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) digitizing the service files of the men and women who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War.

Now, it is disclosed that 1,000 files (which is a small sample) of the medical records section of the service files - the form of temperature charts, dental records and medical case sheets has been transcribed and given to the public.

Read about it at

The press release says that “The transcribed data generated has value for researchers in handwriting recognition, and archival and medical institutions’. What about genealogists – we use these papers in our research too! 
So how useful is this form of transcription? Is crowd sourcing transcription a good way to do it? How accurate will it be? They say it will be verified by computer.

Kingston Penitentiary inmate mug shots

The Kingston Penitentiary was located in Kingston, Ontario, and the penitentiary produced a series of Kingston Penitentiary Inmate History Description Ledgers from 1913 to 1916 in which there is detailed informant on each of the prisoners.

The ledger includes frontal and profile mug shots, the inmate’s name, alias, age, place of birth, height, weight, complexion, eye colour, hair colour, distinctive physical marks, occupation, sentence, date of sentence, place of sentence, crime committed, and remarks of authorities.

The ledger books are held by the Library and Archives Canada.

The ledger books are now on Flickr at

Information on The Kingston Penitentiary is at

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