Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites Where Students Can Transcribe Historical Texts


Having students spend some time transcribing historical texts, whether they be materials from Shakespeare’s time, slave narratives, or war correspondence, can be an engaging and educational experience. Talking about doing something that has an authentic audience!

Here are some places that offer opportunities for volunteer transcribers:

Zoonirverse has offers tons of possibilities. Read more about it at “Zooniverse” Is One Of The Coolest Ed Sites On The Web – I Can’t Believe I’m Just Hearing About It!

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery is a site for genealogists and researchers where they and others can search through incredibly tragic and moving ads former slaves published looking for their lost family members. Learn more about it at  Students & Teachers Can Transcribe Ads From Former Slaves Looking For Their Families.

The Smithsonian Institution has a Transcription Center for volunteers.

The National Archives has a Citizen Archivist program.

The University of Iowa has something they call the DIY History program.

You can transcribe papers from the War Department of the early United States here.

This one is a bit odd, and I doubt that I’d use it, but others might find it useful:

Chicago Library Seeks Help Transcribing Magical Manuscripts is from the Smithsonian Magazine. And here’s the direct link to Transcribing Faith, the project the article describes.

Students Can Research Holocaust News Coverage With “History Unfolded”

Let me know what I’m missing!

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. This is appropriate for our students

  2. Work in progress includes: Transcribing Civil War telegrams, Freedman’s papers and names, draft records, Revolution War muster rolls, books to digital format, black marriage records, ship arrivals, passport applications, etc.

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