Maine State Archives and Maine State Library just launched the Digital Maine Transcription Project, in which  people can contribute the contents of historic documents to an online database. Digital Maine hosts digitized items from all over the state. 

Users will be able to type the contents of historic documents into the Digital Maine site, making them text-searchable by researchers. Also, having a typed version will make such documents accessible to those who cannot read cursive and to the visually impaired, via programs that can “read” typed text aloud.

“Transcription is a time-consuming process, but one that comes with great benefits,” says Archivist Heather Moran.  “It’s a different and new way for people to engage with the collections.” Staff began project planning last summer after learning of enthusiastic public response to similar initiatives at the National Archives and the Smithsonian.

Currently available for transcription on the Digital Maine site are Civil War hospital records, slavery and African-American history documents, militia records from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, correspondence from the library’s collection relating to artist Dahlov Ipcar, and town records. Archives and Library staff will update the site with new material as transcriptions are completed.