Planning Scripto Projects

A number of important considerations will inform nearly every aspect of your Scripto project, and not all of them are technical.

The types of materials you intend to crowdsource is a major determinant of the structure of your project. Scripto is designed to facilitate transcribing materials in which content is more important than form. Documents such as letters, diaries, and reports as well as audio and video files are excellent candidates for a Scripto project. It is not intended for materials where columns and layout and verisimilitude reproduction shape meaning such as financial documents, charts, or graphs (although you may apply wiki markup to these materials to format transcription text).

As much as possible, you will want to define the scope and goals of your project in advance, including:

  • number of items requiring transcription;
  • types of items (document, audio, multimedia);
  • file formats of items (including jpg, wmv, mp4, pdf, doc, gif, bmp);
  • transcription outcomes:
      • project timeframe (are there phases, milestones, and deadlines for sections of the project or the project in its entirety?);
      • guidelines to standardize transcriptions (See Appendix A for sample guidelines);
  • possible transcribers (Is this project open to the public-at-large and infinite numbers of transcribers? Or, is it a project limited to selected members of a class, group, or organization? How will transcribers sign up for accounts and what information would you require from each volunteer?);
  • and, numbers of people available to serve as editors.

Defining these salient features of your project will enable you to identify implementation procedures, including:creating transcriber login and validation processes;

  • identifying the roles of the editors;
  • organizing recordkeeping processes for documents and their transcriptions;
  • formulating guidelines and style sheets for transcribers appropriate to the types of items the project encompasses;
  • and, designing an outreach component to attract transcribers and site visitors.

Scripto is a free, open source tool for enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files.