How to Review

Review is the final vital step in our process. Once a page is accepted by a reviewer, it is ready to be published on the Library of Congress main website. Published transcriptions make these pages keyword searchable and improve accessibility for people who use adaptive technology including screen readers. Review is also great way to learn our transcription conventions and become familiar with reading handwriting.

Transcriptions are created by one or more volunteers. Volunteers submit a transcription when they feel they have captured all text correctly and want another person to check their work. A reviewer must read the entire transcription and carefully compare it to the document image, checking for accuracy and completeness. Before you start reviewing, read How to transcribe. These instructions explain how to transcribe line breaks, misspellings, and other features of the original documents, and what to ignore. While you review, you might want to keep the transcription instructions visible by printing them out or opening them in another browser window or tab.

Register to review

Anyone can review; you just need to register. An account also allows you to track what pages you have transcribed and reviewed on your profile page and to tag documents.

Find a page to review

Navigate through the Campaigns and use the filters to find pages to review. Click "Needs Review" to only see projects, items, and pages that need your reviewing help! Once you have reviewed a document and clicked “Accept” or “Edit”, you will be asked if you would like to review a new page, transcribe a new page, or add tags to the page you just reviewed. You can also look for review calls to action in the carousel on our homepage. Click “Let’s Go” and you may be sent directly to a page that needs review.

When to accept a transcription

If a transcription is accurate and you do not need to make any changes, click "Accept". The page is now complete! You can no longer make edits, but you and other volunteers can still read the document and add tags.

Editing a transcription

If you find errors or missing text click “Edit”. You can then make the changes yourself or leave it open for another volunteer to edit. Remember, do not make changes to the spelling, grammar, word order or punctuation of the original document. Do correct any mistakes made by the transcriber or complete any words they could not read, which you can. Click “Save” as you go to save work in progress and "Submit" when you're done. Another volunteer will still need to review the page. A page is complete when a reviewer clicks "Accept" without making changes.

Should I add line breaks?

Line breaks aid reviewers and other readers in comparing the transcription to the original lines of text. This is helpful because it allows reviewers and other readers to read across the transcription and image line-by-line. However, if the absence of line breaks is the only issue in a transcription, you do not need to add them. If you would like to, feel free!

Can I review my own transcriptions?

You cannot review transcriptions you submit unless someone else edits the page and again submits it for review.

Who can I ask for help while I’m reviewing?

Our History Hub discussion forum is a great place to ask for help from other volunteers and the By the People community managers. This is a moderated forum, so there can be a short delay between when you post and when your message appears. Search the existing posts and you may find that someone has already asked your question and received an answer. You’re always welcome to join the conversation!

Ready to try review?