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Update: Lomax transcription review challenge

Five children cross a finish line in a running race while a crowd watches.

Crossing the finish line. Unknown photographer, early 1900s. LC-F8- 44219, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. 

At the start of this month we announced a “challenge” for the Lomax crowdsourcing campaign on the Library’s By the People platform. To refresh your memory, the campaign is focused on transcribing about 9000 pages of handwritten and typed Alan Lomax manuscripts. The ultimate goal is to create machine-readable electronic text versions of Lomax’s materials so that these are more readily searchable and accessible for users, including people with cognitive or visual impairments. In our challenge, we asked you to help celebrate the life and work of Alan Lomax by pushing the number of completed pages up to 3,000 by January 31st—or what would have been Alan’s 105th birthday. As of this morning, there are 2,204 completed pages. Can you help us get over the line by reviewing some of the transcribed pages?

Part of Lomax’s great success was his ability to collaborate with people all over the U.S., the Caribbean, and other parts of the world. He worked with local experts, religious leaders, musicians, and others to identify folk music and dance traditions to record. In addition to making sound recordings, Lomax and his collaborators–including his father, wife, daughter, and the ethnographer and author Zora Neale Hurston–wrote extensive notebooks and letters about the traditions they recorded and the people they encountered. Read more about his life and work right here on Folklife Today, the American Folklife Center’s blog!

There’s something for everyone in the Lomax Campaign–music, dance; different languages including Swedish, Spanish, and Haitian Creole; and different places and cultures, including Mississippi, Vermont and New Hampshire, the Bahamas, and St Simon’s Island, to name just a few.

Here are some pointers on how to review, and remember that any contribution to this effort helps us improve access and usability of these valuable collections!

Pitch in to review crowdsourced Lomax transcriptions!

Back in September, the American Folklife Center helped launch a crowdsourcing campaign focused on transcribing about 9000 pages of handwritten and typed Alan Lomax manuscripts. This campaign is running on By the People, the crowdsourcing platform developed by the Library of Congress. The ultimate goal is to create machine-readable electronic text versions of Lomax’s materials […]

AFC accelerates its efforts to preserve analog media

This is a guest post by American Folklife Center archivist Maya Lerman. Staff in the American Folklife Center archive finished a project that will improve our efficiency in preserving and making accessible AFC’s rich audiovisual collections. Like audiovisual archives everywhere, AFC is working to prepare for a time when obsolescence and degradation of physical media will greatly hinder preservation efforts. We […]

Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film Screening and Discussion Event

On September 29th and 30th, 2017, the Library of Congress is hosting “Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film,” a series of free film screenings and discussions organized by the American Folklife Center. The films feature fascinating explorations of traditional culture in the U.S., focused particularly on cultural communities, traditional artists and their cultural practices in […]

Tracking Lomax’s 1952-53 Spain trip

Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita is the current scholar in the Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection, and has been using her time at the Library of Congress to explore materials held at the AFC related to Lomax’s 1952–53 field recording trip to Spain. In this recent guest post on the Kluge […]

Billy Bragg, Skiffle Historian and Singer, Visits the Library July 21

This blog post about the singer-songwriter Billy Bragg is part of a series called “Hidden Folklorists,” which examines the folklore work of surprising people, including people better known for other pursuits. Billy Bragg will be here for a book talk, July 21 at 7:00 pm in the Mumford Room of the James Madison Memorial Building. […]

“I Didn’t Done the Crime”: Stavin’ Chain’s “Batson” and the Batson Case

Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the version of the ballad performed by Wilson Jones, aka “Stavin’ Chain,” in light of the real-life Batson case. In previous blog posts about the murder ballad “Batson,” I looked at early versions collected by Robert Winslow […]

“No One Can Ever Forget It”: Stavin’ Chain’s Performance of “Batson”

Note: This is the second in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the performance recorded by John A. and Alan Lomax from a trio of musicians including Wilson Jones, a.k.a. Stavin’ Chain, in 1934. A little while back, I presented for the first time anywhere a version of the […]

“When I First Got Ready For the War,” a Song of World War I

This is one of two articles, each focusing on one ethnographic recording of an African American song of World War I. To read the article about “Trench Blues” select here. African Americans left to serve in World War I, beginning one hundred years ago in June 1917, landing in France on June 25. They had […]