What is Scripto?

Scripto is a free, open source tool for enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files. It is designed for institutions and organizations such as libraries and museums engaging in a range of large- and small-scale collaborative transcription projects as well as for smaller group and individual projects.

Scripto is created for projects using any existing content management system that incorporates document, image, and/or multimedia files. This manual, however, focuses on Omeka, WordPress, and Drupal. Installation procedures vary slightly with each. All must install a dedicated instance of MediaWiki. WordPress and Drupal also require downloading Zend Framework.  The tool adds the power of wiki technology to the content management system in order to facilitate the transcription of documents and related editorial tasks. You may use Scripto right out-of-the-box or work with technical experts to adapt this open-source tool to specific projects.

Diagram, Scripto Components

A Scripto project incorporates two principal functions: editing and transcribing. Those functions vary somewhat among content management systems; however, editors monitor and oversee transcription workflow; transcribers interpret materials, guided by project parameters.

Scripto is useful for materials for which transcribing content is important, but where faithful reproduction of format or appearance of an item is not necessary. However, the application of wiki markup enables transcribers to approximate original document formatting.


Advantages of Using Scripto

Opening community transcription via Scripto encourages and expands public engagement with the materials of history, provides opportunities to participate meaningfully in the work of history to a wider audience, and enables individuals and organizations to share the the creation and the display of historical materials beyond the borders of their institutions or individual projects. Scripto also enables organizations, groups, and individuals to overcome limitations of staffing, budget, and time that impede project implementation.

  • Scripto allows users to contribute text that is essential to improving the function of the archive’s search engine and the ability for users to locate the materials they need. Text contributed by multiple transcribers provides more data to search, and allows users to pursue topics and interests that might not be represented in the metadata created by project editors.
  • For projects with the fiscal resources for professional transcriptions, Scripto can provide project editors with a first pass from which they can build more robust transcriptions for scholarly editions. To some small degree, user-contributed transcriptions allow projects to reallocate staff attention toward the value-added materials they bring to scholarly editions in the form of annotations, glossaries, and other contextual elements.
  • For transcription projects with limited funds and limited staff or for educational and instructional projects, Scripto offers a budget-friendly option for project implementation and for extending and sharing historic materials.
  • Opening up an archive to community transcription provides projects with an opportunity to think seriously about fostering and maintaining a vibrant group of users. Public history is meant to be public, and Scripto helps editors focus on seeking out interested users for their important holdings.
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Scripto is a free, open source tool for enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files.