Jane Bramwell

Head, Tate Library and Archive

Hannah Barton

Project Coordinator, Archives & Access project, Tate


Tate Britain Millbank London SW1P 4RG United kingdom

Museums and the Web GLAMi Awards 2016 / Platinum


Crowdsourcing To Transcribe The Archives




AnnoTate: is a crowdsourced transcription tool designed and developed by Tate and Zooniverse (University of Oxford) as part of the Archives Access project (2012-2017).

Archives Access is a large-scale archive digitisation and outreach initiative developed by Tate and supported with a grant from the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund. The project made over 52,000 pieces from Tate Archive of British Art digitally accessible, and produced of a range of interactive digital resources to foster online discovery of the collections.

/AnnoTate is one such resource. The platform features pieces from Tate Archive that contain writing or textual elements. These documents might offer insights into the personal life of an artist, reveal approaches to art practice, or reflect the social context in which artists and their peers were situated. They therefore appeal to a wide range of audiences, from the art enthusiast to the social historian.

However texts - which may have faded over time, or feature idiosyncratic handwriting - sometimes prove hard to read. AnnoTate transcribers work together to decipher such documents, parsing them line by line. The AnnoTate platform determines agreements between transcribers, retiring documents when the work is complete. Tate Archivists then review the final versions before the full transcripts - which offer further ease of access for those who find the original document hard to read - are published on

AnnoTate therefore increases access in multiple ways - reaching the new audiences engaged in transcribing, and facilitating the production of transcripts for wider audiences to enjoy.


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