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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has a new project that asks members of the public to help transcribe online 30,000 pages of documents written during the Civil War.
The library has set up a website where volunteers can log in and see the papers of Richard Yates Sr., who was governor of Illinois during the Civil War, officials with the library's Center for Digital Initiatives said Thursday.
Normally a similar trove of documents wouldn't be transcribed and researchers would have to comb through them one by one. With this project the library hopes to create a searchable transcription of all the documents to make the records available for researchers around the world.
Visitors can set up an account, read a document and type the text into a box at the bottom on the webpage. When they're finished the document is saved and put in a file for other volunteers to review.
Yates had correspondence with prominent individuals including Lincoln, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. William T. Sherman. He led Illinois at a time when the state had about 285,000 serving in the U.S. Army, with 35,000 deaths.
"Military affairs make up much of Governor Yates' correspondence, but his papers also contain extraordinary insight into political, social and economic conditions in Illinois during the war," said Daniel Stowell, who is director of the Center for Digital Initiatives. "Volunteer transcribers will provide an invaluable historical and public service by making the text of the Yates papers fully searchable."
The digitization process is being supported with grant money from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
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