Introducing Scripto: a Tool for Community Transcription

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University is pleased to announce the release of its newest open source tool, Scripto, which opens up the possibilities of community transcription for digital humanities projects in universities, libraries, archives, and museums. With easy-to-implement extensions for the popular open source content management system, including Omeka, WordPress, and Drupal, Scripto allows administrators for any project with collection materials requiring a transcription can now enlist a community of enthusiasts to participate in this aspect of cultural heritage work.

Scripto is an open-source tool that permits registered users to view digital files and transcribe them with an easy-to-use toolbar, rendering that text searchable. The tool includes a versioning history and editorial controls to make public contributions more manageable, and supports the transcription of a wide range of file types (both images and documents). Comprehensive User’s Guide that offers advice on project planning, software installation and setup, transcription editing and oversight, and community outreach, is available on the Scripto website. Additionally, web developers are free to contribute to the project by extending the code, and by participating in a developers’ discussion group .

Building on the models of other crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia and Flickr Commons, Scripto allows cultural heritage institutions to take advantage of the various communities of volunteer transcribers. Volunteers—who may include enthusiasts, transcription buffs, students, teachers, or academic researchers—transcribe collections materials, correct the mistakes made by other transcribers, and make that data searchable and accessible. Scripto is currently being implemented as a transcription tool for the Papers of the War Department project at RRCHNM, and a host of projects at libraries and archives around the country.

Scripto is funded by the Office of Digital Humanities at National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Archives and Records Administration’s National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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Since 1994, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. We sponsor more than two dozen digital history projects and offer free tools and resources for historians. Learn More

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