Special Issue on Collecting, Preserving, and Disseminating Endangered Cultural Heritage for New Understandings through Multilingual Approaches

The existing reservoir of public domain translations of literary texts, once tracked and digitalized, provides a new wealth of linguistic resources to sustain and salvage endangered languages and help us map the global circulation and reception of texts.

1. Individual vs. Collaborative Methods of Crowdsourced Transcription

Blickhan, Samantha ; Krawczyk, Coleman ; Hanson, Daniel ; Boyer, Amy ; Simenstad, Andrea ; Hyning, Victoria,  ; Van Hyning, Victoria.
While online crowdsourced text transcription projects have proliferated in the last decade, there is a need within the broader field to understand differences in project outcomes as they relate to task design, as well as to experiment with different models of online crowdsourced transcription that have not yet been explored. The experiment discussed in this paper involves the evaluation of newly-built tools on the Zooniverse.org crowdsourcing platform, attempting to answer the research question: "Does the current Zooniverse methodology of multiple independent transcribers and aggregation of results render higher-quality outcomes than allowing volunteers to see previous transcriptions and/or markings by other users? How does each methodology impact the quality and depth of analysis and participation?" To answer these questions, the Zooniverse team ran an A/B experiment on the project Anti-Slavery Manuscripts at the Boston Public Library. This paper will share results of this study, and also describe the process of designing the experiment and the metrics used to evaluate each transcription method. These include the comparison of aggregate transcription results with ground truth data; evaluation of annotation methods; the time it took for volunteers to complete transcribing each dataset; and the level of engagement with other project elements such as posting on the message board or reading supporting documentation. Particular focus will be given to the […]

2. A Collaborative Ecosystem for Digital Coptic Studies

Schroeder, Caroline T. ; Zeldes, Amir.
Scholarship on underresourced languages bring with them a variety of challenges which make access to the full spectrum of source materials and their evaluation difficult. For Coptic in particular, large scale analyses and any kind of quantitative work become difficult due to the fragmentation of manuscripts, the highly fusional nature of an incorporational morphology, and the complications of dealing with influences from Hellenistic era Greek, among other concerns. Many of these challenges, however, can be addressed using Digital Humanities tools and standards. In this paper, we outline some of the latest developments in Coptic Scriptorium, a DH project dedicated to bringing Coptic resources online in uniform, machine readable, and openly available formats. Collaborative web-based tools create online 'virtual departments' in which scholars dispersed sparsely across the globe can collaborate, and natural language processing tools counterbalance the scarcity of trained editors by enabling machine processing of Coptic text to produce searchable, annotated corpora.