But just for a moment, imagine the scenario of an open, public, collaborative website where anybody can bring up an image of a Sanskrit manuscript and write a transcription in an adjacent window. A transcription that - like a Wikipedia article - would be open for others to improve or annotate, that would rely on crowdsourced cognitive surplus for contribution and gradual quality improvement. It would be under a history/version control system, so everything would be trackable. Contributors would earn trust points or, as in eBay's feedback score.
Ben Brumfield has created an extremely useful survey of MS transcription tools here.
His own FromThePage service looks simple to use and very attractive for a proof-of-concept pilot project.
For example, the Transcribe Bentham project has developed this way of working:
All the exciting work in MS and edition work today is happening in connection with the TEI framework, and based on transcribed MSS with TEI encoding. Juxta, the Versioning Machine, etc. We need to start thinking about creating a public, high-quality corpus of transcribed MSS. Such a corpus would be the basis for many future projects.
- http://scripto.org/ Scripto (and Omeka)
- http://mel.hofstra.edu/textlab.html John Bryant's TextLab
- http://t-pen.org/TPEN/ T-Pen