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By the People: LC Crowdsourcing

By the People invites students and lifelong learners to contribute to the Library of Congress as virtual volunteers -- transcribing, reviewing, and tagging historical texts to improve search and accessibility of Library of Congress digital collections.

Try It!

Published October 2018

Graduated to a Permanent Program 2020


This application was initially launched as a crowdsourcing pilot by the LC Labs team, Manuscript Division, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, informed by the 2017 experiment Beyond Words . By the People is now a formal program managed by the Digital Content Management Section at the Library.

By the People invites you to transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials from the Library’s collections. Everyone is welcome to take part! You don't even need to create an account, but if you do you'll have access to additional features such as tagging, and reviewing other people's transcriptions. All transcriptions are made and reviewed by volunteers before they are returned to, the Library's website. These transcriptions will improve search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for those who are not fully sighted or cannot read the handwriting of the original documents. Check out the FAQs in our Help Center for more detailed information.

By the People runs on Concordia, new open source software developed by the Library of Congress to power crowdsourced transcription projects. The code is visible and free to reuse: visit our Github repository for more information. The platform was built utilizing user-centered design principles based around building trust and approachability. This project is a partnership between the Library and a growing community of volunteers who help us to iteratively improve the platform. Everyone is welcome to take part in transcription and tagging and to give feedback about how we can improve the code base and the project itself. Be in touch!

This program is generously supported by the National Digital Library Trust Fund. This application is the result of collaboration between numerous divisions and teams at the Library of Congress.

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