A thank you to all "Transcribe the Bomb" contributors

May 11, 2022 · Hannah Scates Kettler and Laura Sullivan

In 2017, the Iowa State University Library launched a major crowdsourcing transcription project for the Bomb, formerly the Iowa State University yearbook. The goal was to create accurate, easily searchable full text transcriptions of nearly 45,000 pages of the entire run, from 1894-1994, of student yearbooks. The wide variety of fonts and graphic elements in the yearbooks requires human intervention to create machine-readable text that better reflects the original text. This crowdsourcing effort supplies key components of a digital collection: improved accessibility, full-text search, and computationally amenable collections that extend the use of the Bomb. This past year, two of Digital Scholarship and Initiatives student library assistants, Lynn Huang and Mytien Kien, computationally evaluated existing transcriptions from this project to ensure the best accuracy possible (multiple transcriptions were created for each page), and these transcriptions will be included in the online versions of the Bomb in our digital collections.

After over five years of hard work by close to 200 transcribers and over 20,000 transcriptions, the project will sunset this fall. The library will assess the project and determine future steps but will provide the transcribed materials as a companion dataset to be used, researched, and remixed. We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this project, and we look forward to what you do with this newly expanded digital collection.