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Past Events at the University of Edinburgh Main Library.

EDITOR Workshop poster
EDITOR Workshop poster

EDITOR Transcription Workshop - Cataloguing Where No One Has Catalogued Before

10-12 March 2021

2pm – 6pm GMT, 9am-1pm EST


To catalogue the uncatalogued... What would it mean to use machine learning to finally delve into vast collections which are too onerous to catalogue manually? What if partial collections could be reunited digitally, breaking institutional barriers? What if handwritten and printed collections could be transcribed using algorithms?

In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Virginia Law Library, we at the University of Edinburgh’s Library and University Collections team sought to explore these questions and more. Generously funded by the Scottish Library and Information Council’s Resource Discovery Fund, we ran a virtual workshop from March 10-12, 20212 which was aimed at exploring, contextualising, and refining the advanced OCR and IIIF technologies and methodologies conceived and implemented by both project teams.

Over three afternoons (GMT) the workshop demonstrated the innovating work that has been done to test transcription on an early printed collection, the Scottish Session papers, and an 18th century handwritten collection, the notebooks of Sir Charles Lyell. The workshop included hands-on practical sessions to allow participants the opportunity to experiment with the techniques we have developed to investigate how these techniques can be applied to other print collections and to illustrate their potential for pursuing digital scholarship.

As well as cutting across disciplinary and international boundaries, the workshop also cut across sectors by bringing together librarians, archivists, scholars, programmers and developers to discuss common collections whose potential could be unleashed using these digital tools.

The event was a resounding success, with over 150 people attending from all over the world.

The event programme is available here:

Videos of the event are now available online:  

Copies of PowerPoint presentations are available on request, by emailing  


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