The DJO project is looking for volunteers to help complete the digitisation of Dickens’s journals, making them available for free public access in time for the celebration of Charles Dickens’s bicentenary (born 7th February 1812).
A huge chunk of Dickens’s work as a writer, reporter, and magazine editor is preserved in the two weekly journals he edited for over twenty years, and in which he published hundreds of articles as well as some of his best known serial novels: Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. The rest of the contents – which were published anonymously – he helped commission, plan and copy-edit, from offices in Wellington Street, Covent Garden. A blue plaque opposite the Lyceum Theatre commemorates the spot.
These two journals—Household Words and All the Year Round—have never been republished or indexed in an integral form, although they remain a treasure trove of great writing that deserves to be better known (ProQuest make them available on a subscription basis). To this end, an open-access digital edition, giving authorship details from two out-of-print indexes, as well as new attributions, scholarly and educational materials, has been under development for the past 5 years. It’s funded by the international Dickens Fellowship, The Leverhulme Trust, the University of Buckingham, and many individual supporters. The site shows over 30,000 pages of vintage Victorian journalism as digital images, together with a legible transcript, produced by the automated process known as ‘OCR.’ However, inevitably, there is a sprinkling of mistakes on each page (5 to 25), so in order to unlock the full potential of the data, these mistakes are being removed by a team of volunteer ‘sub editors.’ Since January of this year, correction work on 15% of the archive has been completed to a high degree of accuracy.
Aiding this national endeavour is easy: simply go to www.djo.org.uk and create an editing account. There are FAQs, a Glossary, and an online editing tutorial to support you, and volunteers can choose to have their work acknowledged, or kept anonymous. The project is happy to supply reference letters to those involved.