Transcription Challenge Framework Call for Projects, Research Cycle 2023–2024

Transcription Challenge Framework Call for Projects, Research Cycle 2023–2024 lead image

Do you have a relatively brief but problematic medieval source or text that exists in multiple copies, but has never received the kind of scholarly attention it warrants? Are you interested in examining and discussing your chosen source with a team of highly motivated researchers, who will work for a short but intense period to render versions of your source in machine-readable format? Would you like to learn how to use and apply collaborative digital methodologies in our increasingly virtual scholarly environment?

The newly-established Transcription Challenge Framework (TCF), a scholar-run initiative supported by FromThePage and Stanford University Libraries, is accepting proposals to host individual Transcription Challenges for its 2023-2024 TCF research-cycle season. The most appropriate texts for a Transcription Challenge are relatively short, totalling between 1200 and 2000 lines. Thus, a short book, or a book section from a longer treatise, are ideal candidates to submit to the Transcription Challenge.

For every Challenge, multiple 10-person transcriber teams, led by two captains each, will devote their time and expertise over a two-week period to transcribe one copy of a text or source, in competition with other teams participating in the Challenge at the same moment. At the end of the Challenge session, several versions of the same source, rendered in machine-readable format, will be produced to very high editorial standards, ready for future scholarly use, and will be sent to a panel of subject-area specialist who will judge all the submissions according to the speed, accuracy, and collaborative nature of the transcription effort. Judges will announce a winning submission from among the participating teams.

Two challenges are anticipated, scheduled between January and October 2023. Scholars whose proposals are accepted will benefit from the experience gained in past transcription events, have access to digital space to support the Challenge while it is ongoing, and a platform to house and publicize the scholarly output created before, during and after the two-week Challenge period.

Past transcription events have proved wildly popular and productive for former participants, and have provided training and real outcomes within the new research environment.