Thursday 22 February 2018

Rewriting history... how the hurried scrawl of a century ago can have a digital rebirth

The online digital archive at Trinity is the brainchild of Professor Susan Schreibman, who invites the public to contribute material from the Great War and the Easter Rising.

She says: "It's a crowd-sourcing project that depends on public participation. Not only do we value material sent in, but people can go online and transcribe the letters."

Transcribing simply means reading the letters, many of which are in handwritten scrawls, and typing in a more reader-friendly version. In addition, participants can proofread the typed version.

She says: "One of the first contributors to upload was a man called Robbie Doyle. He found a lot of letters in a Jacobs' biscuit tin. He didn't want to give them to a library or an archive but he wanted the stories told."

This new approach to mapping history, made possible by the appliance of science, allows marvels like sentiment analysis.

Susan says: "It's the Big Data approach, we can hit a search for all the letters posted on a particular day and gauge the mood of the country."


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