Supporting Future Scholars: The Transkribus Scholarship Programme

Imagine you are a student who wants to dive into the personal story of one of the few famous child authors in history; or who wants to discover what made the authors of the Spanish Golden Age of theatre tick; or you are a teacher who wants to help the future generation in the digital humanities to achieve such things. There is a programme that may be interesting to those inclined this way. We are proud to be able to support future scholars in their research of historical documents and to encourage them in their projects. Through the Transkribus Scholarship Programme we enable students and also teachers, to use Neural Handwritten Text Recognition in their projects without worrying about funding too much. Transkribus Scholarships are granted based on dissertation and thesis projects, or courses taught and workshops held. Students may apply for HTR credits with a specific project such as a bachelor, master or PhD thesis. In addition, we also think that it is important to support teachers who want to foster the next generation of digital scholars. Therefore, we also support teachers with Scholarships.

Projects that we have supported with our programme.

So far, scholarships were granted to more than 70 applicants in 26 different countries. Many projects in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and other European countries were supported. However, not only European applicants applied for the Scholarship programme, but also students and teachers from the US, China, Japan, Brasil, Singapore, and Israel. With this programme, we enable students to work on smaller projects which are nevertheless very important for the field, and this has made many interesting studies possible. 

Joe Nockels, a PhD Student at the University of Edinburgh, working on a project at the National Library of Scotland, applied with his project concerning the diaries of the acclaimed child author Marjory Fleming (1803 – 1811). He used the granted credits to train an HTR+ model entitled “Early 19th Century (Child)”. With an error rate of 1.85 % on the training set and 11.26 % on the validation set, the accuracy of the model is impressive despite the limited amount of diary pages which could be used to train the model.

read&search platform of Marjory Fleming’s writings.

The exported transcription is now easily accessible online via the National Library of Scotland’s Data Foundry for reuse, research, and further experimentation, and was piloted on the read&search platform. Creating a searchable online version of Fleming’s writings means an important contribution to the historical domain, as with her works the often-neglected voice of children in history takes centre stage and they provide a key source for situation histories of Scotland. 

Another interesting project was carried out by Álvaro Cuéllar (University of Kentucky / Universidad de Valladolid). He is using Transkribus for the automatic transcription and modernization of Spanish Golden Age theatre prints and manuscripts. For the analysis of the texts he uses stylometry and thereby tries to shed light on authorship issues, as it is presented on the portal. Álvaro is using Transkribus as a fundamental part of his ongoing thesis project about the application of Digital Humanities to Spanish Golden Age theatre. 

Those are only two of many highly interesting projects that Transkribus has been able to support. If you yourself are interested or you want to find out more about Transkribus Scholarships, check out the details here


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