Transcribe Bentham (University College London)

Hacking the past: an archives game jam

Transcribe Bentham (University College London)
The National Archives (UK)

The National Archives (UK) and the Bentham Project at University College London are coming together to create a free game jam, focusing on games with a purpose (GWAPs) on 23 and 24 February 2019.

These organisations have experience of crowdsourcing the transcription of historical documents with the assistance of interested volunteers. They also have been experimenting with the use of Handwritten Text Recognition software to automate the transcription of documents. However, the transcription of historical material can still be a time-consuming and complex task.

The challenge for this Hackathon is to create imaginative and engaging games that encourage and help people to transcribe documents efficiently. This will be done based on digital images from a diverse range of historical collections at both The National Archives and University College London. The transcriptions will open up access to historical material and make them discoverable for anyone interested in historical research.

The event will include:

  • Interesting talks about the documents from archivists and historians
  • Briefing on the tasks ahead
  • A chance to learn and develop exciting new digital skills
  • A showcase of all the work produced over the weekend
  • A lot of hacking time
  • And of course, pizza!

Find out more and register to attend via Eventbrite.

Passport of the photographer Alfonso Sánchez Portela. - Documentos de la Junta de Defensa de Madrid de la Sección PS-MADRID del Gobierno de España. Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte. Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (CDMH), PS-MADRID,1870,1,433

New content on the Archives Portal Europe

Official photographers of the Spanish Civil War

The National Archives of Spain published a new, very interesting collection on the official photographers working in Spain during the Civil War. It includes information on the work of all photographers and journalists working as war correspondents between 1936 and 1939. Many prestigious names are present in this collection, such as Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and Alfonso Sánchez Portela “Alfonso”.

Passport of the photographer Alfonso Sánchez Portela. - Documentos de la Junta de Defensa de Madrid de la Sección PS-MADRID del Gobierno de España. Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte. Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (CDMH), PS-MADRID,1870,1,433
Passport of the photographer Alfonso Sánchez Portela. – Documentos de la Junta de Defensa de Madrid de la Sección PS-MADRID del Gobierno de España. Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte. Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (CDMH), PS-MADRID,1870,1,433

The collection from the Centro Documental de la Memoria Histórica (Centre for the preservation of Historical Memory) includes more than 500 items and is now available via the Archives Portal Europe.

Looking up to the stars – Observatoire de Paris and more

The portal FranceArchives is the national aggregator of French archives to the Archives Portal Europe, conducting a major update this month, which added 20 new departmental archives, four city archives, and the Observatoire de Paris, the astronomical observatory of Paris to the content available on the portal.

These new additions, 10,000 new collections including links to about 250,000 digital objects, showcase the richness of French archival resources on international topics, and they allow to discover unknown fonds such as those of city councils like the City Archives of Buissard in the Hautes-Alpes.

Among the collections that have priority in the digitisation, archivists have given special attention to those that describe private fonds, iconographic fonds, often revealing unexpected documents. Two examples of these treasures can now be found on the Archives Portal Europe: the archives of the Protat printing house at the Departmental Archives of the Saône-et-Loire, or the fonds of the Quaker Bernard Ireland Macalpine (1886-1948), digitised by the Departmental Archives of la Marne.

Premier album photographique de Bernard Ireland Macalpine (2e partie du fonds). Archives départementales de la Marne, 1 Num 63 1-9 - 1 Num 63/2 .
Premier album photographique de Bernard Ireland Macalpine (2e partie du fonds). Archives départementales de la Marne, 1 Num 63 1-9 – 1 Num 63/2 .