Transcription Center: Tips

Welcome to the Transcription Center Tips Page

Thank you for joining us - below you'll find helpful information, links to project instructions, and tips to help you transcribe and review.


General Instructions (click here)



Welcome! Are you ready to become a #volunpeer? We're excited to have you here with us! Before we get started, let's go over a few guidelines that will help us all work together on these projects:

  1. This is a space in which volunteers can join and work together.

    The Transcription Center team is constantly working with you and using your feedback to improve instructions. Participating Smithsonian organizations frequently add new projects. That means this is a busy place - be sure to check in on the instructions on each page when you start a new project and use the feedback button if you need help.
  2. We take care to protect your privacy and we take that task very seriously.

    Here is our privacy statement; you will also find it on the bottom of every page in the Transcription Center. You are only identified to other users by your self-determined username (contact us to change your username) – and that information only appears in the Latest Updates section on our homepage. Although we take these efforts to protect your privacy, remember that this is a public-facing site and what is transcribed can be read at anytime. Please be careful and do not share personal information such as your e-mail address when communicating using the “Notes on transcribing this Page” field.
  3. This is a peer-review process that helps us make more useful text for research and improve access to collections.

    We are constantly reviewing and refining the text we create here. At any time, pages you have transcribed may be edited - by other volunteers and by Smithsonian staff. Your participation on the site indicates that you are opting to join us in the peer review process. The best part is that you are welcome to participate flexibly, in any of the following ways: by transcribing anonymously, by transcribing with an account, by reviewing with an account, or by transcribing and reviewing with an account. We welcome your input; from one word, to one page, to one project.
  4. Have fun and treat each other with respect.

    We're all here to explore and experience Smithsonian Institution collections while we collaborate. For example, should you disagree with another volunteer on a word or an approach to transcribing, leave a Note and a third volunteer can help you make a decision. Remember our goal: it's not to be perfect but rather to create more SEARCHABLE, READABLE and USEFUL text to better share and create access to this information.

Thanks for reading and let us know if we can help you get started.



Looking for instructions to help you transcribe and review? Click and check out the specific steps for each template:

  • TC Sound Transcribing Audio Collections



    The system has the ability to track and report individual user’s activities by user ID.  It can tell you the pages and time you transcribed or reviewed.  It can also report to you via online display or download-able PDF file.  


    To get your Activity History report, you need to first Signup as a user.  Make sure you login each time before doing an transcribe or review work. The system does not track any user who has not logged in even if they have signed up and have a user ID.  To sign up for a user ID, click on the SIGNUP button on the upper right of the screen.  To login, click on the LOGIN button.  .  



    To review your Activity History report, click on "MY WORK” button on the upper right of the screen. This "MY WORK” option will be on display after you have logged into the system .  Select time range and click on View or Download button to recieve the Activity History report.




    Please give it a try and we hope you will enjoy this wonderful community as much as we do.  We look forward to working with you.