Aggregating Annotations in the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts Project

Hi all, I am Coleman Krawczyk. My role for the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts project has been building the data aggregation code. In other words, I write the code that combines each of the volunteers’ transcriptions into one consensus transcription. This is also the code that draws the underline markings on the pages to indicate what lines…
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Independent vs. Collaborative Transcription: Zooniverse Research & Anti-Slavery Manuscripts

In January, the Boston Public Library announced the launch of our Anti-slavery manuscript transcription website. This site was developed by a team from Zooniverse led by Dr. Samantha Blickhan. The goal of this project is to engage and enable a community of motivated citizens to help convert handwritten verse into machine readable text. This transcribed text…
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The Boston Mob of 1835

Boston abolitionists faced great opposition from their fellow Northerners during the early years of the anti-slavery movement. To say that everyone in the North supported an end to slavery would not have been true. Many letters, which you can help transcribe online at the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts Project, discuss how pro-slavery mobs often interrupted abolitionist meetings…
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Abolitionist Stationery

If you help transcribe abolitionist letters at the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts Project, you will come across a few letters that are printed on interesting stationery. Some abolitionists wrote their personal letters on letterhead with anti-slavery drawings. Sometimes, they used this stationery strategically when writing to individuals who held opposing views on emancipation. In a letter to…
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The Anti-slavery Fair

Female abolitionists played a key role in the abolitionist movement. In 1833, a group of Boston women decided to form their own organization. It was called the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, and it had both white and black members. The organization looked for ways to support the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (a local branch of the…
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The Liberator

  From 1831 to 1865, William Lloyd Garrison, a vocal white abolitionist, edited a weekly newspaper, titled The Liberator, in Boston, Massachusetts. When other abolitionists supported a slow end to slavery, Garrison vowed from the very first issue of The Liberator to “strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave populations,” which was a…
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The American Anti-Slavery Almanac

When transcribing letters from the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts project, you may come across letters in which important figures, such as Lydia Maria Child, discuss the American Anti-Slavery Almanac. On June 20, 1860, Child wrote to William Lloyd Garrison about an almanac they planned to publish, asking Garrison, “How many pages do you propose to have?...If you…
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Moderating on the Talk Boards for the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts Transcription Project

Joanna Treasure has been one of our most active and reliable moderators for the Anti-Slavery manuscript transcription project. In this role, she takes questions and addresses concerns from other Zooniverse volunteer transcribers. Zooniverse projects often include moderators who have been recruited from the active participants. This shows that that the management of the project is…
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Anti-Slavery Manuscripts: How We’re Dividing the Data

A note from IMLS Postdoctoral Fellow, Samantha Blickhan on the logic behind how we decided to make a fairly large collection of manuscripts more manageable in our transcription project: Crowdsourcing can be an effective tool for classifying really large datasets, and Anti-Slavery Manuscripts (ASM) is no exception. The dataset is made up of about 12,000 letters written during the 19th…
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8th graders in Missouri transcribe anti-slavery documents and learn about the abolitionist movement

Dr. Lisa Gilbert, a Social Studies teacher in St. Louis, Missouri, recently tweeted about her experience with her 8th grade class transcribing and examining some of the BPL’s anti-slavery manuscripts. She blogs about it here... As a social studies teacher, I hope for my students to develop an appreciation of the discipline of history itself…
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