Online Text Correctors To Be Honoured

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27th January 2010, 02:55pm - Views: 705

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media release

Parkes Place, CANBERRA  ACT  2600

27 January 2010

Online text correctors to be honoured 

Six people who have helped correct millions of lines of text online in the National Library of

Australia’s Newspaper Digitisation Program will be presented with special Australia Day awards

tomorrow, Thursday 28 January, 2010.

The top text correctors, who have made the program’s Hall of Fame, Julie Hempenstall

(Victoria), Maurie and Lyn Mulcahy (Queensland), Fay Walker (Queensland), John Hall

(Victoria) and Ann Manley (NSW), will be presented with awards for their efforts during a special

presentation in the National Library Theatre. They will also be treated to an exclusive viewing of

some of the Library’s prized collection items and see a demonstration of the Library’s

revolutionary new search engine, Trove. 

The National Library’s newspaper digitisation program began two years ago, using Optical

Character Recognition software to automatically convert old newspaper images into digital text. 

Although this is the latest technology, the small fonts and uneven printing of many of the

newspaper pages made conversion difficult and not always accurate. Enter online users from all

over Australia who were keen to help by correcting the text. 

More than 5000 online users have corrected text – with the top correctors to be presented with

the special awards. From a stay-at-home mum with a special interest in family history to a

retired couple keen on shipping, the correctors have provided enormous assistance to the

program, with some spending up to 45 hours a week correcting text. 

Manager of the Australian Newspaper Service at the National Library, Rose Holley, said the

correctors’ work was an invaluable service to the community.

‘Their contribution and dedication to this project is simply remarkable,’ Ms Holley said. ‘They

have really gone the extra mile.’ 

The program, which is run in conjunction with state and territory libraries, digitises historic

Australian newspapers from 1803 up to 1954 when copyright began. The digitised images and

text are then made available to everyone via the Web. The millionth newspaper page went

public on 14 December 2009, with that page, a 1901 edition of The Sydney Morning Herald,

containing the 10 millionth article to be digitised. It is expected 40 million articles will be

available via the program by June 2011.

The National Library received $1 million in 2008 from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation to

assist with the digitisation of out-of-copyright editions of The Sydney Morning Herald.

For more information about the National Library’s Australian Newspaper Digitisation program,

WHAT: Text correctors to receive Australia Day awards

WHEN: 9am, Thursday, 28 January 2010 

WHERE: National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground Floor

Media contact: Sally Hopman, 02 6262 1704; 0401 226 697 or

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