You can Help on a Brand-New Transcription Project: Criminal Characters

This is an unusual project: transcribing the records of persons imprisoned. If you have Australian ancestry, you undoubtedly already understand the importance of this project. However, Australian ancestry isn’t required to volunteer for this worthwhile project. The following announcement was written by the organizers of the project:

Who committed offences, and why? You can help researchers find out by transcribing the records of persons imprisoned from the 1850s through to the 1940s. Drawing on history, criminology and law, this research project will transform understandings of crime and its history by capturing the first large-scale data on the life histories and offending patterns of Australian criminals across a period extending from the end of the convict era to the beginning of the Second World War. How did these changing socio-historic contexts and the turbulent events they encompassed affect individual involvement in criminal offending? Are the people revealed by the records the sorts of characters that the public expect? Or will there be surprises?

Check it out at


I could find no reference on the website to say how these transcriptions are to be made available, whether it will be free or paid. The records transcribed so far don’t appear to be accessible. Hmmm.


    I was just going to ask the same question. I love to transcribe but I do it for databases that are free for others to access. Not going to do it for a company that charges for the use of the records.


I have started a discussion on zooniverse asking about this. I’ll keep you posted. or you can follow it


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