We Need Your Help Transcribing

Interested in volunteering with Florida Memory? We’re looking for digital volunteers to transcribe county histories, which will make information more easily accessible for researchers using our website.

Our newly digitized collection, WPA County Histories, contains brief county histories and related notes collected or written during the Great Depression by agents of the Works Progress Administration’s Historical Records Survey. Encompassing 63 of Florida’s 67 counties, these documents are incredibly valuable reference guides for researching the history of particular Florida counties. Unfortunately, these documents aren’t searchable unless they are transcribed, which is where you come in! By helping us, your transcriptions will be benefiting researchers everywhere who use Florida Memory to learn more about the history of the Sunshine State.

The process of transcription is simple. These instructions will give you an understanding about the steps involved in transcribing the documents.

First, go to the WPA County Histories collection and choose from the list of counties. You can select a county you’re familiar with or choose one you know nothing about.

Select a Florida county from the map.

Select a Florida county from the map.

After choosing a county, find a document in need of transcription. These documents will have a “Transcribe This Item” tab.

Under the document you will see a “Transcribe This Item” tab when documents have not been transcribed.

Once you have chosen a document, you can begin to transcribe it. Remember to transcribe the item exactly as it appears. Any change or corrections to spelling should be encased in brackets [ ].

Sample text from a WPA document.

A transcription of the above WPA document. Note the spelling corrections appear in brackets.

A transcription of the above WPA document. Note the spelling corrections appear in brackets.

Upon completion, click on the “Transcribe This Item” tab to find information about saving your transcription and how to submit it to us. Transcriptions should be saved and submitted as a plain text file using text editors such as Notepad for Windows or TextEdit for Mac OS X.

View of the "Transcribe This Item" tab with instructions for digital volunteers.

View of the “Transcribe This Item” tab with instructions for digital volunteers.

Please be aware that although the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.

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15 thoughts on “We Need Your Help Transcribing

  1. I just did Collier County. It has Barron Collier’s middle name misspelled. I corrected in the transcription. They certainly could have added a lot more in the history. Apparently everyone was out fishing that day they recorded this. D. Graham Copeland had more of the county history on his notecards.

  2. Thank you for this opportunity to use my editing skills and history interest! I have chosen a document and have a question about the footnotes. Though the footnotes use shorthand references like ibid and op cit, would it be more useful to substitute the full title of the reference, since searching for such a reference in the digital version might show it just once in a while? I would put any such substitutions in brackets. Alternately, if it’s better to make an identical transcription, rather than making search results more useful, I could go back after completing the transcription to make a 2nd transcription that may be more useful. What do you think?

    • Hi Romas,

      Thank you for volunteering! For this project, it is better to transcribe the document exactly as it appears, including the footnotes. But you are welcome to expand upon county histories for your own research purposes.

  3. I would like to transcribe Gadsden County. I have done NSDAR Tran scripting and they have 3 volunteers who work on the same papers at the same time to flag errors. Will this be done in a similar manner?

    • Hi Mary,

      Transcriptions submitted by volunteers go through a review process before they appear online, but this is done by staff at this time.

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