Do you find yourself suddenly looking for something to do to pass the time? Maybe you’re looking for a momentary mental break. Or maybe you would like to learn a new skill while brushing up on your knowledge of Colorado history. Consider becoming a Journeyman Editor and correcting text in the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC)!
Between April 1st and April 15th, the CHNC will be holding a Journeyman Editor contest. Three Editors who correct the most lines, within the 2 week time frame, will win special gifts from CHNC and of course the appreciation of users far and wide. Before you rush to join the CHNC community of users, we realize you might have some questions. We will do our best to answer them below.
- How is the text of the historic newspapers searchable in the CHNC?
The searchable text and titles in this collection have been automatically generated using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. OCR, is a process by which software reads a page image and translates it into a text file by recognizing the shapes of the letters. OCR enables searching of large quantities of full-text data, but it is never 100% accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the print quality of the original issue, its condition at the time of microfilming, the level of detail captured by the microfilm scanner, and the quality of the OCR software.
- Why is text correcting so important to searching newspapers?
OCR technology alone can only do so much. Newspaper issues with poor quality paper, small print, mixed fonts, multiple column layouts, or damaged pages may have poor OCR accuracy. Since CHNC only searches the OCR transcribed text, incorrect transcription can cause fewer search results. For example (below), “Oak Creek” may be transcribed into text as “Oak Crook.” The mistake in this OCR-created text can only be corrected manually. Text correcting helps improve your searching and the searching of every other CHNC user.
- How do I sign up and correct text?
First, in order to correct text you need to register with CHNC which is free and easy. Find out how to register here. All you need to know to correct text can be found in the helpful video found below. We have also provided many text correcting resources on the CHNC Help and Forums page found here. Our number one text correcting tip is: Don’t forget to save!
- Where do I start?
Many correctors start with newspapers from their chosen area – either they live there or their ancestors lived there. However some correctors don’t base their corrections off a geographic area but rather a subject area they are researching – so they will correct articles based on subject regardless of what newspaper title the article appears. All users are welcome to correct in whatever way they would like. However, if you are looking for titles in need, any recent addition to CHNC (see our home page) will likely need some amount of correcting. Those titles will always be a good place to start.
- Where do I start?
- How do I know what has already been corrected?
In many cases it’s fairly obvious that the text has not been corrected. For example in the below, the OCR transcribed text is gibberish due to a poor microfilming process. Even with good OCR transcribed text, if you see random characters in the text (such as, / | / ), it likely hasn’t been corrected since most correctors will remove those characters.In the example of the Aurora Democrat below, one can tell with just a cursory look that the transcribed text looks pretty good. Also, notice above the article title the list of “Contributors.” This means those 3 users have done some amount of correcting in the article.When you are in text correcting mode, you will see a checkbox that notes whether the block of text has been completely corrected or not. Currently this information only displays when you are in text correcting mode.
- Will I ever become a Top Journeyman Editor?
We think you can! The system keeps a tally of the words that you have corrected. The more lines you correct, the higher you will rise on the ladder to Top Journeyman Editor. Our current Top 10 Journeyman Editors have collectively corrected over 2 million lines of text! Regardless of your ranking, always remember it’s this human intervention that makes the collection even more valuable to the tens of thousands of students, genealogists, and researchers who use it every month.
While text correcting is invaluable to providing our users with better search results, it is also rewarding and just a little addictive. Best of all, it’s free to sign up and you can do it from your home all while social distancing. Did we mention there are prizes? So sign up and get ready to start correcting – the clock starts on April 1st! You don’t want to miss out on the chance to win these exciting prizes (this is just a sampling).