Events, Featured, Library News

Coming Soon: Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon on 2/14

By Tierney Gleason, Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian

On February 14 from noon until 3pm, Walsh Library will be hosting a Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon event for the first time. We put together this blog post to explain how it works. We hope you will consider joining us!

What is Douglass Day?

Douglass Day is an annual event where organizers from the Colored Conventions Project and the Center for Black Digital Research at Penn State ask groups around the country to assist them with transcribing the text in digital documents on African American history from libraries and archives. The completed text transcriptions help make the content in these collections free and accessible to all for teaching, learning, and research.

Learn more from the Douglass Day organizers:

Douglass Day is a collective action for Black history. Each year, we feature a different collection of Black history. We invite you to learn about the Douglass Day principles and the longer history of Douglass Day.”

How does Douglass Day work?

Douglass Day organizers at Penn State will broadcast a live program on YouTube from 12 noon until 3pm EST on February 14th. This broadcast offers the history of Douglass Day, speakers, and a tutorial about how to transcribe documents. (The schedule for the live broadcast will be released before the 14th.)

This year, Douglass Day participants will help transcribe Frederick Douglass Papers: General Correspondence, 1841 to 1912 held by the Library of Congress (LOC).

Participants will need computers and should sign up for an account with the Library of Congress’s transcription platform, By the People. Once a volunteer has set up an account, they will have access to the images of the items held at the LOC and will be able to transcribe the text appearing in documents, review the accuracy of transcriptions from other volunteers, or add tags to documents that reflect their content to enhance searchability.

How can the Fordham Community participate in Douglass Day?

In Person at Walsh Library:
  • Members of the Fordham community can attend the in-person event on February 14th in Walsh Library (as their schedule allows) from noon until 3pm. Please RSVP to help us locate a space that can accommodate everyone who wants to attend.

Online Participants
  • Online participants can register for Douglass Day as individuals or a professor can register their class.
  • Go to the Douglass Day website and press the Register button to sign up. The form will ask if you are participating on your own or if you are a professor working with a class.

Any tips for incorporating Douglass Day into a class or encouraging students to participate for extra credit?

Yes, we have a few tips! Reach out to Tierney Gleason at for more information.

Join us on February 14th!

Check out our Douglass Day & Frederick Douglass Research Materials guide for more information. This event also includes a small exhibit around the Reference Room at Walsh Library entitled, Abolitionist Voices: Honoring Frederick Douglass & 19th Century Abolitionist Organizing.

To join us on February 14th, please RSVP here. This will help us secure a space that can accommodate everyone who wants to participate in person, and will also allow us to reach out directly to anyone who is interested in participating in person or online.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Reach out to Tierney Gleason, Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian, at

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