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MSU Libraries offers workshop on transcribing historical documents and Lantern Project

February 6, 2023
Logo for the Lantern Project

Learn more about transcribing historical documents during a two-hour special workshop that will include an overview of the Lantern Project and a hands-on look at transcription.

"Introducing the Lantern Project: An Informational Session and Mini-Transcribe-a-Thon" will be held Saturday, February 11 from 12-2 pm in Mitchell Memorial Library, according to Jennifer McGillan, Coordinator of Manuscripts.

"The Lantern Project is a multi-state and multi-institution effort led by Mississippi State University Libraries to digitize and transcribe legal records of enslaved persons generously funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration," McGillan said.

"Our focus is to support research into the history of chattel slavery in America and the lives of enslaved persons," she added.

The first hour of the Feb. 11 workshop will be held in the John Grisham Room on the 3rd floor of the library, and will be an overview of the Lantern Project, including information about navigating the digital resource as well as about the types of legal documents included in the project.

The second hour will be held in the ELI and Giles electronic classrooms located on the 1st floor of the Library and will offer attendees the opportunity to learn more about transcribing historical documents as an aspect of the research process, McGillan said.

"We are trying to encourage community engagement with the project and provide our students and community members with the opportunity to learn more about transcription and to gain skills in historic research," McGillan said.

"Doing research with historic documents does involve working with hand-written documents which may be heard to read," she added. "We also want to make these documents available to the broader public. We want to bring the community into this important project and to promote it and encourage research (on this topic)."

McGillan said the materials have been digitized and some have already been added to the MSU digital collections. The Library is currently working to get more of them online.

"So, keep checking back," she added.

For more information, or to request an information session for a group or institution, please contact Jennifer McGillan,

Project website:

MDAH History is Lunch Presentation: