GB1900 Newsletter 5

            Hello all GB1900 volunteers.

            Welcome to the latest issue of the GB1900 newsletter.

            Winding-up GB1900
            We have decided to keep the project running through the Christmas break, to give you time to track down those last few transcriptions, so the last day will now be:

            SUNDAY 7TH JANUARY 2018

            We will actually close down early on the Monday morning.

            As we have said before, we think it is necessary and desirable to fix a clear end date to the main GB1900 activity: it is getting harder and harder to find new names to be transcribed, and there is work to be done to create a "clean" final version, especially where we have three transcriptions all slightly different, which can only start once the main site closes down.

            We also want to celebrate the completion of the work, and recognise the volunteers who have made the largest contributions. The next article explains how we are going to do that, and also introduces a new ranking system which identifies who is making the largest contribution to these final stages.

            We are paying you Millions [of virtual Doubloons] to complete GB1900
            We need to finish up GB1900 and we realise that it is getting harder and harder to find new "pins" to create. We also know that the current leader board no longer provides the right incentive, as we now mainly need confirmations and most of you can only improve your ranking by creating new pins.

            We can't change the leader board within GB1900, and want to go on using it to recognise the contributors who have made the greatest long term contribution to the project. However, we are adding a separate system to reward those who do most in these final months:
            • These final months will be a kind of treasure hunt, searching out the last few names on the maps, so it is appropriate we pay you in Doubloons. Each week we will pay out one MILLION Doubloons.
            • Half of those Doubloons will be paid for doing confirmations, and half for new pins. Each week they will be divided up between all volunteers active that week according to how many of each kind of task you have done. It is already much harder to find new names, so the amount we pay for each one will be greater -- but we pay you for a new pin only when it is confirmed.
            • As the weeks go by, both kinds of task will get harder, so the amount we pay for each one will go up. We would not be surprised if in December we pay out the whole weekly amount for a single new pin.
            • We are back-dating this system to the 1st of September, when we announced that the project would be winding up. These are the numbers of new pins and confirmations for each week since, and the resulting payments. Please note the payments per new pins will be revised as additional pins from that week get confirmed:

            • We recognise that as piracy has been stamped out on the Spanish Main, Doubloons are no longer legal tender. However, the five contributors ending up with the most Doubloons will instead receive a bespoke, site-centred printed copy of the Six Inch map of their choice, a warm welcome and behind the scenes tour to view selected map treasures, and a free cup of tea if they can make their way to either of the National Libraries to receive it. We will do the same for the five contributors who are topping the existing leader board.

            We can't include this new ranking in the main web site, but we will be including it in these mailings and on the support site. To preserve privacy, we are listing only first names and the first and last letters of surnames, but we think this is enough for you to identify yourself. We are including the overall counts since 1st September, but to work out the Doubloons you need to know which week they were done in:

            Viewing Results
            We have updated the "needs confirming" dot map, both to reflect progress over the last month and to try to exclude more of the pins which DON'T need confirming, because they are mistakes. For example, we are trying to exclude benchmark heights, and also some pins we have been able to identify as having no associated features at all. We hope to do a better job next time of excluding pins which have not been confirmed because they are duplicate transcriptions. Please don't worry too much if some of these "unconfirmed mistakes" are in the system at the end: we expect to do quite a lot more tidying up after the site closes down, and the final gazetteer will include only names which have been confirmed. What will not be possible after that is adding completely new pins.

            The new map is here:

            This can obviously guide you to areas where confirming work is needed, but by highlighting the areas where there has been recent activity it can also guide you to where you are most likely to find names which have been completely missed. However, those are going to become steadily harder to find, which is the point of the new ranking system.

            We have also added some maps which show certain kinds of feature, and give an idea of the eventual results from the project:
            • "Quarries and Collieries" is the work of Joe Rose, one of our contributors in Canada. These are very specific subject categories, but can be combined, as necessary. So, for example, the term "colliery" also includes features such as Pumping Station/House, names of houses (eg. "Colliery Row") and some railway features (tracks, sidings, inclines etc.) connected to collieries. Quarries are of course, a related and broader Real World Object category:
            • "Gallow" names. This just shows the distribution of names with the element 'Gallow' or 'gallow' to illustrate something of the power and potential of the final GB1900 gazetteer.
            • "Common" names, which hopefully tell us something about the distribution of common land:

            GB1900 Volunteer Study
            We have now received "ethics" approval for this from the University of Portsmouth, and will soon be e-mailing some of you asking if you are willing to talk to us about your experience with the project, in a telephone interview. Participation will be entirely voluntary -- we don't have you phone numbers! -- but our main focus will be on our most active contributors, who have clearly devoted many hours to the project, and we hope they will find talking about it interesting.

            One aim is to learn what difference it makes to be working on the particular places shown on the maps rather than, to take the well-known example of the GalaxyZoo "citizen science" project, distant galaxies. If you agree to be interviewed, we will be creating a map of Britain showing the locations of all your transcriptions, which we will send you before the interview so that we can discuss what they mean to you.

            We also want to discuss your detailed experience with the GB1900 software, although we need to emphasise that this is not so that we can make immediate improvements. This is to help us plan a completely new system which would provide a more general framework for both extracting information from historical maps and adding your own information on top of them; but once we have planned it we will need to apply for funding to build it.

            Although the telephone interviews will be with a small number of contributors, we are also planning an online questionnaire which we ask all contributors to complete, but the design of the questionnaire needs to be guided by what we learn from the interviews so that is a second phase of the study.

            With regards,

            The GB1900 Project Team

            Updated: 09 Oct 2017 04:57 AM
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