About By the People

The Library of Congress launched By the People (crowd.loc.gov) in the autumn of 2018. The application invites you to transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials from the Library’s collections. Everyone is welcome to take part! You don't even need to create an account, but if you do you'll have access to additional features such as tagging, and reviewing other people's transcriptions. All transcriptions are made and reviewed by volunteers before they are returned to loc.gov, the Library's website. These transcriptions will improve search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for those who are not fully sighted or cannot read the handwriting of the original documents. Check out the FAQs in our Help Center for more detailed information.

The name By the People was announced November 19, 2018 at our very first transcribe-a-thon and on the 155th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The phrase comes from the closing line of that speech, which states “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." The name was chosen to reflect the spirit of democracy in this undertaking which asks you, the American people, to join us in making the Library of Congress accessible to all.

By the People runs on Concordia, an open source software developed by the Library of Congress to power crowdsourced transcription projects. The code is visible and free to reuse: visit our Github repository for more information. The platform was built utilizing user-centered design principles based around building trust and approachability. This project is a partnership between the Library and a growing community of volunteers who help us to iteratively improve the platform. Everyone is welcome to take part in transcription and tagging and to give feedback about how we can improve the code base and the project itself. Be in touch!

This program is generously supported by the National Digital Library Trust Fund. This application is the result of collaboration between numerous divisions and teams at the Library of Congress.

Latest News

September 4, 2019, The man who recorded the world: On the road with Alan Lomax

August 12, 2019, Women’s Suffrage Challenge: 1,000 Pages for 100 years

June 4, 2019, Suffrage centenary! 100 years since women got the vote

May 20, 2019, Find your perfect page - try out the new Activity Prototype

May 20, 2019, Memorial Day review challenge

April 24, 2019, Celebrating 200 years of Walt Whitman with a new campaign

April 16, 2019, Social share, Resources, and content updates

Febrary 6, 2019, Concordia update - 0.4.17 release

February 4, 2019, #LettersToLincoln update: Transcriptions, credits, and new letters -- oh my!

January 25, 2018, Crowdsourcing Helps to Unlock the Mystery of Cursive

December 17, 2018, Georgetown Students Join the Lincoln Crowd

Nov 15, 2018, Gettysburg Address Anniversary Transcribe-a-thon Nov. 19

October 24, 2018, Letters to Lincoln Challenge

Library of Congress Blogs and Press Releases

August 12, 2019, Crowdsourcing Challenge

May 20, 2019, Crowdsourcing Invitation: Help Tell a Civil War Soldier’s Story

April 25, 2019, Crowdsourcing the Clara Barton Diaries? Let Miss Barton Come to Your Aid!

April 16, 2019, Celebrating 200 Years of Walt Whitman with Series of Exhibits, Events and Digital Crowdsourcing to Showcase Collections

March 27, 2019, Branch Rickey Crowdsourcing Project: It’s Outta Here!

January 23, 2019, Crowdsourcing Helps to Unlock the Mystery of Cursive

October 24, 2018, Enabling Discovery of unique treasures at the Library of Congress

October 24, 2018, Announcing crowd.loc.gov - Here we go!

October 17, 2018, Connecting crowdsourcing to the new Library of Congress 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and Digital Strategy

Press coverage

The Verge, August 14, 2019, Write history for the Library of Congress’ crowdsourcing project

Book Riot, August 2, 2019, Library of Congress seeks help transcribing suffragist documents

Mental Floss, July 31, 2019, The Library of Congress Needs Help Transcribing 16,000 Pages of Suffragist Diaries, Letters, and Documents

Smithsonian Magazine, July 30, 2019, The Library of Congress Needs Your Help Transcribing Suffragist Papers

Washington Post Magazine, June 17, 2019, The National Archives has billions of handwritten documents. With cursive skills declining, how will we read them?

Wired, April 14, 2019, Tech that connects us -- And makes us better humans

CNET, April 10, 2019, Carla Hayden has an audacious plan to make Library of Congress available to you online

WTOP, March 29, 2019, Love baseball? Unique DC exhibit shows off deep, crowdsourced history

The Washington Post, March 27, 2019, Volunteers transcribed nearly 2,000 Branch Rickey scouting reports from the Library of Congress

American Libraries Magazine, March 1, 2019, A New Digital Strategy for America’s Library: The Library of Congress expands its online offerings through letters, maps, and colors

FedScoop, January 22 2019, LOC website visitors can now reap the rewards of the library’s crowdsourcing labors

Bizwomen, December 24, 2018, Library of Congress needs your help decoding historical papers

Library Journal, Nov. 29, 2018, Library of Congress Launches Crowdsourcing Platform

Mental Floss, 28 October 2018, The Library of Congress Needs Help Transcribing Lincoln's Letters and Other Historic Documents