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Transcriptions brought to life online

A newly released and long awaited feature in the digital library software enables the display of transcribed content. When transcribed content is present in a digital library object, a new tab, designated Docs, is displayed. This tab will present the transcribed content as readable and downloadable files. Just click on the thumbnail icon of the file type. Most transcribed content is available in both smart-PDF and Word formats. We are very proud to bring this new feature to you!

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Handwritten content is often difficult to decipher and, when digitized, not conducive to OCR. In parallel to the scanning of heritage materials, individual volunteers, staff, and students have been transcribing the writings from the past. Individual transcribers’ names are included. Now these letters and diaries can be read easily online as part of Villanova University’s Digital Library.

The first transcription to be included in the online collection is the Lane Manuscript. This contains the autobiographical manuscript of Samuel Alanson Lane (1815-1905). From January until May of 1835, Lane traveled around the U.S., looking for work in numerous cities, including New Orleans, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, until finally settling in what would become his hometown, Akron, OH, on June 29, 1835. S. A. Lane was a dedicated follower and professional lecturer of the American temperance movement as well as an avid supporter and political participant for the Republican Party, formed in 1854. Perhaps Lane’s most interesting and daring pursuit, was his active participation in the mass emigration to California in search of fortune like many other easterners during the California Gold Rush, which kept Lane from his home and family in Akron for over two years. This manuscript covers his life and contains many depictions of 19th century American frontier life. An exhibit featuring the life and times of Samuel Lane is also available online.

While only a few transcriptions are online at present, over the coming weeks and months much new transcribed content will be available to delight and fascinate. On the technical front, we are quickly working to make these materials discoverable with keyword searching. Printed texts that have been OCRed will also have enhanced findability.

I would be remiss without acknowledging all who have toiled many long hours over these often cryptic documents filled with fragmentary words and sentences. Thank you! In addition much hard labor also went into the software enhancements that make such content available, so out of the many individuals involved, I would especially like to thank David Lacy for his hard work in bringing the best to our digital library software!

If you are interested in helping to bring historical materials alive, please consider volunteering. Just reach out and email us at: digitallibrary@villanova.edu

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3 Comments »

  1. [...] companion document to a digitally scanned book. More information on this feature can be found here and a live example can be found by viewing the Lane Manuscript AJAX-based metadata [...]

  2. Comment by Fashion brands — January 26, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    It’s a very interesting post! Thanks for your information.

  3. [...] information on the newly available transcriptions, read Michael Foight’s announcement on the Blue Electrode, the Digital Library blog. No comments [...]

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Last Modified: November 19, 2010