Tuesday 5 January 2016

My New Year in Trove

celebrateIn the spirit of contributing, volunteering and not without a sense of personal satisfaction, I have been text correcting digitised newspapers in Trove since my retirement from paid work. These papers provide an important window into the history of our country, its people and places. It is interesting to read of past times and extra entertainment is provided  through some very hilarious interpretations of text rendered by the OCR process.

Some months I may correct many lines and other months very little. The beauty is that it is always there and in a spare moment one can make a difference. Correcting the OCR text makes changes in the overall database and so improves the search.

Trove provides simple, clear instructions in the Help Centre. Anyone can create a user profile to correct text and comment on articles. I started by correcting birth, marriage and death notices for my family history research then I found wedding and obituary articles. I simply had to correct these, amongst many others is this quite detailed report of my parents’ wedding.

Soon I was lured into regional newspapers in the area where I had spent my early years. Many of the people and places mentioned in articles were known to me. The advantage of correcting a local newspaper, is that one is likely to have quite an extensive background knowledge, so text correcting is easier when dealing with the familiar.

Other correctors choose a theme or particular interest. Trove put some questions to its top text correctors to find out what they correct and why, Read their responses on the Trove blog. When a user is logged in, Trove keeps track of how many lines of text are corrected. Here’s a screen clipping of the Hall o’ fame ranking as at 28 December 2015. That was the day I hit 1200th in the list. I’m wondering how far I can creep up that list in 2016 or indeed can I stay in the top 1200 as others continue their corrections. That’s my New Year challenge, I’ll check back December. 
trove hall of fame 2015

Tips for correctors

  • Use the zoom function in your browser (CTRL+ or CMD+) rather than the Trove zoom function to enlarge the text to be edited as well as the newspaper article. The Trove zoom can then be used to further enhance the newspaper article.
  • Have a second Trove tab open to check for similar names or difficult words. In the article below it was difficult to determine whether the name was Geue or Gene. A quick search in the other tab revealed that families of Geues were living in the local area at the time of this article. Similarly I searched for Weedhead and Weedbead before determining the other difficult to read name was Woodhead.  
  • This Time-Date calendar lets one check the date on a specific day mentioned, so if an article mentions Monday 2? December 1849 where the ? is an unreadable character, the calendar helps determine the date was the 24th.
  • Save every few lines corrected, better to have saved than lost through either a computer mishap or a connection glitch.
  • Further guidelines by the top text correctors are provided here.
The OCR text uncorrected

The correction process Green - showing saved lines, Red - currently edited lines not yet saved

View completed text correction on the Text corrections tab of your User Profile. Good to see that the ruts not rats were to be filled!


Happy text correcting, hope to see you soon in the Hall o’ fame.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-new-year-in-trove.html


  1. Way behind you at 2778. Had better pull my socks up!

  2. I'm at 25807 and I try and stay in the top 900 depending on work and life.

  3. A timely reminder to keep up with the corrections. If I'm pressed for time I at least try to correct the people and place names where necessary. Having local knowledge can make all the difference between reading and not reading some of the old papers.


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