After checking out a few of the products on the zooniverse website, including the space and nature themed projects, I decided to work on the Criminal Characters project. This project is to transcribe records of Australian criminals. The criminal records that are being transcribed are from the 1850s to the 1940s.

All of the transcribing that volunteers do comes from digitally uploaded images of the offender’s records. For the records I worked on transcribing, the records came from State Records of New South Wales.

Transcribing from a static image is not something I find particularly hard. Unlike with video transcriptions, the image doesn’t change which requires you to type quickly. The difficulty with this project’s transcription is that the writing on the images can be quite hard to read, as it both has shorthand and is written in cursive.

I did enjoy looking at the records. Some of the criminal charges have a multitude of names, stealing could be called stealing, stealing from; the person, a dwelling, by trick; sheep stealing, stealing as a bailee, stealing as a servant.

1 comment

  1. I can certainly agree with the cursive being hard to read. However, you got lucky with a really interesting topic. Criminal records can be very interesting to look through, if only to see all the crazy and disturbing ways that humanity has come up with to break both rules and laws. What was the most interesting criminal charge you came across? From the sound of it you were dealing with a lot of thefts. I never knew just how many ways there were to refer to someone stealing something, but language can be a funny thing, so I guess it isn’t surprising that they have to specify the nature of the crime to such a degree.

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