appeal. Curatorial staff requested that the Digital Library department investigate options to develop such a project for the diaries, with the twin goals of enhancing the data by enabling full-text search of the content, and engaging the general public by allowing them to interact with the materials in new ways. The results of initial investigations were not promising. No one in the UI Libraries possessed the programming expertise to develop a software solution from scratch. Systems staff were already so over-tasked with other library initiatives that even implementing an open-source solution was out of the question, and none of the cloud-based projects had yet emerged. Digital initiatives librarians were ready to give up and wait a few years for the technology to become more attainable when the libraries’ webmaster suggested collecting submissions through the use of a web form. She wrote some simple PHP code to generate a web page that pulls diary pages from CONTENTdm, the asset management system used to host the digital collection the page images are paired with a text box for users to type in the transcriptions and a submit button sends an e-mail message to a departmental inbox. From there, a cataloging staff RLI 277 11 Experimenting with Strategies for Crowdsourcing Manuscript Transcription ( C O N T I N U E D ) DECEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC University of Iowa Libraries’ Civil War Diaries & Letters Transcription Project, Transcriptionist Interface
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