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, new 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.
Febrary 6, 2019, Concordia update - 0.4.17 release
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 News
October 24, 2018, Enabling Discovery of unique treasures at the Library of Congress
October 24, 2018, Announcing crowd.loc.gov - Here we go!
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