[Talk-GB] Fwd: ANNOUNCING GB1900 -- Online volunteers needed to build the most comprehensive gazetteer of British place names

SK53 sk53.osm at gmail.com
Fri Sep 23 18:15:02 UTC 2016

Hi Paul,

I'd be very interested in this providing it has a decent licence. AFAIK
Vision of Britain has a restrictive licence which means that I have spent
some time recreating small parts of their data on OHM (e.g., London
Boroughs of the LCC). There's still a tendency for academia to choose
Non-commercial licences, which means local historians still need permission
to use the data in their, typically, modestly priced publications. Of
course just like Google & OSM, the sceptre of ancestry.com probably affects
the licence model.

It would be good to get some feedback on this issue.

I contributed in a small part to Cymru 1900, and Owain Roberts from the
NLoW gave a geomob presentation a couple of years ago.



On 23 September 2016 at 18:59, Paul Williams <pjwderby at googlemail.com>

> I spotted the message below on a mailing list I'm on, and thought it might
> be also of interest to OpenStreetMappers. I've noticed that their site uses
> OSM as a background map (use the slider at the top right of the map to fade
> in/out between the old map and OSM).
> Cheers,
> Paul Williams
> (Paul The Archivist)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: humphrey <humphrey.southall at port.ac.uk>
> Date: 22 September 2016 at 21:20
> Subject: ANNOUNCING GB1900 -- Online volunteers needed to build the most
> comprehensive gazetteer of British place names
> To: ARCHIVES-NRA at jiscmail.ac.uk
> The GB1900 web site is now live:
>         http://www.gb1900.org
> List members who attended the UK Archives Discovery Forum at the National
> Archives in March may have seen our poster display. GB1900 is a joint
> project between my team at the University of Portsmouth, the National
> Library of Scotland and four Welsh partners: the Royal Commission on the
> Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the University of Wales Centre
> for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, the National Library of Wales and
> the People’s Collection Wales.
> The aim is, through crowd-sourcing, to transcribe all the names on the 2nd
> Edition Ordnance Survey "County Series” six inch maps of the whole of Great
> Britain, and to make the resulting gazetteer freely available. We are
> particularly hoping that some archive’s volunteers will be able to put
> working into their local area.
> A press release, with some dodgy quotes “from me” but invented by the PR
> guy, is here:
>         http://www.gb1900.org/press-release.html
> If you were’t at the UKAD Forum but this still sounds a little familiar,
> it is because GB1900 is based on the earlier Cymru1900Wales project. If you
> go to the GB1900 site, you will see it is already claiming  over 300,000
> names transcribed and over 400 volunteers at work, and this is because it
> inherits all the contents from Cymru1900. However, this is not just a
> re-branding:
> == Cymru1900 worked with six inch map scans of Wales already licensed from
> a commercial supplier. GB1900 works with a quite different and higher
> quality set of scans covering the whole of Great Britain, created by the
> National Library of Scotland.
> == Cymru1900 gathered a lot of transcriptions, but very few were
> re-transcribed for confirmation. The software has been modified to make the
> need for confirmatory transcriptions clearer, the process simpler and the
> results much more visual. Incidentally, this means that although it is now
> hard to find new names to transcribe in Wales, there is a great deal of
> work to be done there confirming the existing transcriptions: turn those
> markers from green to purple!
> == While Cymru1900 ran somewhere “in the cloud”, GB1900 runs on a server
> in Portsmouth.
> Gazetteers which tell you where towns and villages are/were are plentiful,
> but those County Series maps include names for just about every farm, wood
> and many parts of settlements. We are asking volunteer transcribers to
> gather every piece of text on each map, other than purely numerical
> strings, so we will also be including, at least in the raw data, many
> “Waterfalls”, Brickworks” and so on. Based on how many names were gathered
> by the Welsh project, our guess is that the final harvest will be around 3
> million “names”.
> It is worth explaining why two existing resources don’t meet this need:
> — The DEEP project created the Historical Gazetteer of England's
> Place-Names (http://www.placenames.org.uk) from the reports of the
> English Place Names Survey and offering "four million+ historical
> place-name forms". That means it is based on real place name scholarship,
> but it has two big limitations considered simply as a finding aid for
> places:  the EPNS is far from complete, with several counties not even
> started (see http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/epns/survey.aspx),
> and although the DEEP gazetteer includes many landscape features within
> each parish entry, the only geographical coordinates are for parishes. The
> count of “place-name forms” of course reflects the very large number of
> variant names in the system. Some of the earliest EPNS County surveys cover
> ONLY parish names.
> — The Ordnance Survey have made their Open Names gazetteer freely
> available, and initially it sounds very promising: “2.5 million accurate
> locations”. However, read a little further and you find "870,000 named and
> numbered roads, nearly 44,000 settlements and over 1.6 million postcodes” —
> which does not leave much room for farms or woods. The OS’ core MasterMap
> system does list farms and woods, but it is anything but freely available.
> The GB1900 system is not an online gazetteer, but rather a machine for
> building a gazetteer (it does include a simple gazetteer of settlements,
> but that is off-the-shelf and there just to help you find the right part of
> the map to work on).
> Our aim is to build an online place name search facility accessing the
> final GB1900 gazetteer, probably as an additional facility within our web
> site A Vision of Britain through Time, but that is not currently funded and
> we cannot announce anything now.
> However, the GB1900 system is programmed to dump out its current place
> name database every 24 hours, and once it starts to build up we can make
> this dump available for download without funding. It will be under the
> simplest form of the Creative Commons license, which means anybody can use
> it for anything, even commercial. You don’t need specialised software to
> work with this — the laptop I am typing this on has a full dump of
> Cymru1900 as an Excel file. We know that a lot of people will want to
> create subsets for their local area.
> =======================
> However, for now this is getting a bit ahead of ourselves, For this
> project to work, we need volunteers willing to contribute their eyeballs
> and fingers to the transcription process. The Cymru1900 system has been
> closed down but the home page is still there, to re-direct people to
> GB1900. That page includes the following acknowledgment — so we are looking
> for more people like “Jan”, interested in working on parts of Scotland and
> England. We hope you will draw your users and especially your volunteers
> attention to GB1900:
> "We would like to thank to all those who helped with the transcription of
> Welsh place names, and give a huge thanks to our top 10 contributors:
> • Jan (202,088 transcriptions)
> • Gall (37,576 transcriptions)
> • Sue (32,312 transcriptions)
> • Maureen (24,747 transcriptions)
> • Mike (24,730 transcriptions)
> • Stephen (24,680 transcriptions)
> • Alison (19,462 transcriptions)
> • Judith (16,329 transcriptions)
> • Alwyn (15,236 transcriptions)
> • Hilary (12,151 transcriptions)
> You have made an invaluable contribution to the creation of a Wales 1900
> gazetteer, which will benefit research for years to come."
> Best wishes (and happy transcribing — I have done part of Portsmouth and
> much of Colwall today ….)
> Humphrey Southall
> Professor of Historical Geography/
> Director, GB Historical GIS
> University of Portsmouth
> Geography Dept, Buckingham Bldg,
> Lion Terrace, Portsmouth PO1 3HE, UK
> Humphrey.Southall at port.ac.uk
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