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Beyond Words

Launched September 2017, Retired November 2021

ANNOUNCEMENT: The active experiment Beyond Words has come to a close. While the web application is no longer available for your exploration, we are exporting and preparing data to make it available for wider use, accompanied by guidance and project information. The data created in the application, the image gallery, and the codebase will remain available via the project GitHub repository. We’ll also summarize what we learned from this experiment, along with some extra ideas for digging into the data. If you contributed to the project, thank you for sharing your time and feedback with us!

Experimenting with Beyond Words: From 2017-2021, the Library of Congress invited the public to help in the effort to take newspapers Beyond Words. Participants were invited to identify and improve information about the pictures within the Chronicling America digitized newspaper collection. This pilot project offered the opportunity to explore historical newspaper coverage of World War I and contribute to digital scholarship at the same time.

What is Beyond Words? Beyond Words was a volunteer crowdsourcing experiment presented in a website where participants could try one or more of three tasks: Mark, Transcribe, Verify. In each step, you could create information and identify images in ways can be used by everyone: the public, researchers, artists and more. We hoped that educators, researchers, and artists would take advantage of the ability to better explore and create with our collection.

Beyond Words was created by Tong Wang, a Library of Congress software developer, as an Innovator-in-Residence project with LC Labs and was made possible with the support of the Serials and Publications Division, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

How can I explore the data? During the experiment, everyone could browse the public-domain Beyond Words gallery to see what participants selected and transcribed. They further were able to download and use the data from Beyond Words as JSON. We are currently exporting and preparing these sets of data, so watch this space for updated experiment data and information soon.

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