McGill University was founded by the Scottish Canadian businessman and philanthropist James McGill, who made his formation with what would become the North West Company, an organization central to Canada’s fur trade. McGill’s Canadian Fur Trade Collection includes documents relating to the North West Company and the wider colonial-era fur trade, and predominantly contains manuscript material in both French and English.
However, while the documents in the collection were primarily authored by the North West Company’s bourgeois, nearly all of whom came from English or Scottish backgrounds, indigenous knowledge and Indigenous peoples were principal parts of the fur trade during this period and are therefore also represented, albeit indirectly.
Until now, time-consuming and resource-heavy manual transcription was the only option for making this collection properly accessible through full-text search, whereas HTR enables full text searchability, opening up new routes to uncovering the records of Indigenous peoples within these materials.
Since the launch of HTR Transcription – the ability to generate one-click transcriptions across all manuscript content, with no training required for different hands or languages – the technology has been applied to many assets from this important collection, enabling the McGill team to fully evaluate its long-term role in unlocking the search potential of these archival materials.
In this webinar, Jacquelyn D’Eall Sundberg, Outreach & Special Projects, and Carolyn Pecoskie, Metadata & Electronic Resources Librarian, will talk us through the build of the Fur Trade Collection, testing the capabilities of HTR Transcription in terms of accuracy across documents of different type, script, language and quality, and, looking to the future, how they foresee the technology being incorporated into transcription workflows for all manuscript materials.
Gain a deeper insight into the real-world use and application of HTR Transcription as experienced by the team at McGill University Library, and evaluate the role which it can play in the development and enhancement of your own digitized manuscript collections. Join us on Thursday, September 16, at 14:00 EDT, for our webinar, "Digital collections: Optimizing access and discovery in an evolving technological landscape", in partnership with Library Journal.