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EMu, Collections Online, and the Adkin Diaries: Using existing platforms for transcription. Carol Stevenson Collection Information System Manager Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 11th Australasian EMu User Conference Sydney, 3-4 September 2013.

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EMu, Collections Online, and the Adkin Diaries: Using existing platforms for transcription.


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    1. EMu, Collections Online, and the Adkin Diaries: Using existing platforms for transcription. Carol StevensonCollection Information System ManagerMuseum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 11th Australasian EMu User Conference Sydney, 3-4 September 2013

    2. Spent morning shepherding breeding ewes etc. Mustered the 2nd class Waikanae hoggarts (these are now the best we have) + drafted out 105 of the 109 to go UR (North Block). Also mustered the (former) 1st class Waikanae (193) + drafted out 179 to go up to N. Blk with the others. In evening rode down to see Maud – helped her develop some plates – spent a lovely time with her – she’s a perfect darling. http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/theme.aspx?irn=4382

    3. Background • George Leslie Adkin, 1888 - 1964 • Farmer, photographer, geologist, explorer, archaeologist, ethnologist. • 1 man, 41 diaries, 59 years, Over 21000 days • Thousands of negatives and prints, some albums • Initial deadline, launch of @life100yearsago twitter feed part of WW100 project • Did everything ourselves • Figure out process (imaging, cropping, loading, transcription guidelines) as we went

    4. Process • Assess album condition • Photograph album pages, load as media assets to album • Crop pages to days, load as Media Assets (derivatives) • Create narrative for days • Load “day” images to EMu “day” narrative • Transcribe • Add associated subjects, people, places • Add context to narrative entries for month • Some parts semi-automated, some completely manual; some need no special skills, others do

    5. Framework • Using existing framework; EMu & Collections Online • CIDOC CRM for building and expressing semantic relationships • Days are conceptual entities, not physical • Links to physical entities: diaries, photographs, albums (Catalogue) • Links to people, places, topics (Thesaurus and Parties) • All content managed in EMu and delivered to Collections Online

    6. Narrative for Day

    7. Narrative Hierarchy

    8. Narrative Associations

    9. Hierarchy links to Catalogue

    10. Catalogue - Media Asset

    11. Media Asset Hierarchy

    12. Existing framework: Cons • No crowdsourcing opportunity • Huge amounts of data pushes current visual design of Collections Online • Hierarchies get very long, can be slow in EMu

    13. Existing framework: Pros • Cheap! • Know how to use it • No set up • Proved flexibility of system • Full use of thesauri etc • Links into rest of the collections (this is the most important) • Existing audience

    14. Crowdsourcing • Size of the project is daunting, but the transcription could be manageable through crowdsourcing • The content is interesting: NZ history, early 20th Century courtship, farming, geology, religion, war, politics, weather… • Horowhenua locals interested in local history, and one of their famous sons • History students and educators: Bring students closer to primary material, work with cursive handwriting, highlight the importance of accuracy in relation to data, personal biography • Learning history through a first hand account

    15. Platforms and complex data • There are a number of existing online platforms that look great (Zooniverse, FromThePage), but how to deal with matching to our structure, vocabularies, authorities? • Could use automated text authority mining, but would need to then match back to authorities and structure, and text doesn’t include concepts that require human understanding (e.g. courtship) • Beyond scope of crowdsourcing? But does that diminish the value of the “data”? • External platforms means lots of data and image handling • “Closed” crowdsourcing. Provide volunteers remote access to Emu, with very cut down access

    16. Where to • Can’t do with existing (human) resource • Transcription only one part of the project, richness comes form the linking of concepts, people etc • Need to figure what parts need to be crowdsourced, what can’t • Transcription could enable the adding of contextual and semantic relationships and links to other sources • Options for automating the above • Or, with a focussed crowd and a finite project, maybe we don’t need a new platform, could provide training and use existing tools • Make data available for analysis, visualisation, research, fun

    17.  In evening rode down to see Maud – showed her some books but there seemed to be a lack of sympathy between us + the evening was a failure. http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/theme.aspx?irn=4080

    18. Twitter • Narrative teasers are also Tweets • Link to Collections Online • One of a number of 100 years ago accounts • Feeds into a group account @life100yearsago • Also tweet images for days that have them • Dead man tweeting: potential issues of responding to comments etc

    19. What we’ve learnt • So much content, so much data • Our existing data structure works really well • Transcription only one part • Context needed, or at least useful, for the reader • Enlivens the collection, a step beyond just digitisation and transcription • need to formalise the project

    20. See • Adkin diaries on Collections Online • @adkin_diary on Twitter • @life100yearsago on Twitter