On Scribes of the Cairo Geniza, thousands of people around the world come together on the Zooniverse platform to assist professional researchers through the remarkable potential of crowdsourcing. This week, project team members at Princeton University brought members of the crowd together in-person.
The Princeton Geniza lab hosted a Scribes of the Cairo Geniza transcribe-a-thon on Tuesday, November 12. Encouraging volunteers to become long-term citizen historians is one of our key project goals. But our larger mission — recovering unknown chapters of the history and culture of medieval Jews, Muslims, and others in the Middle East and North African region— is something in which everyone can participate. Needless to say, the project welcomes volunteers from all backgrounds, not just those with prior knowledge, experience, or foreign language proficiency.
Students, faculty, staff, and members of the public arrived at Jones Hall on Tuesday morning with their laptops ready. Penn Libraries’s Judaica DH Coordinator, Emily Esten, started with a training session, walking participants through the history of the Cairo Geniza, the project’s goals, and how to transcribe fragments using the site. Fueled by caffeine, snacks, and the motivation to contribute to ongoing scholarship, participants worked for four hours on transcribing and sorting fragments. Working together, 26 volunteers transcribed 37 Hebrew subjects and 48 Arabic subjects, and sorted 46 subjects for later transcription.
Though this transcribe-a-thon came to an end, the hard work of the project continues on the web. Volunteers can always participate on their own time at scribesofthecairogeniza.org, and University of Pennsylvania volunteers can join at the next Geniza transcribe-a-thon at Van Pelt Library on December 5, 12:30–1:30 PM.
Please consider joining us on Scribes of the Cairo Geniza to participate in unlocking the secrets of one of the greatest archives of the middle ages! Interested in hosting your own transcribe-a-thon? Check out our organizing guide and resources or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Judaica DH at the Penn Libraries on .
Exported from Medium on April 14, 2020.