Audacious and achievable: Progress towards our goals.

We got a batch of data out from the system recently, with more than half a million transcriptions of questions and answers.One of the automatically recorded pieces of data when you transcribe is the time and date.

Here is the raw data. We had a great opening week, and then in late 2015 we had some website problems. You can see how that affected our numbers, probably along with it being the holidays. What are the two huge jumps in January and February? Those are the days immediately following our interviews on TV One and TV Three. If we were on TV every night think how quickly we’d be done. Many hands do make light work!

daily.pngAs you can see from this graph there are some day-to-day fluctuations that make it harder to pick out the trend. It looks like the fluctuations are weekly, reflecting when people have more or less time (or faster internet at work?).

There are some formal statistical tests for the “periodicity” of data, but for simplicity lets just look at the average over a week. We take the rolling average which allows us to get away from worrying about the audience for our project which is in multiple timezones. In effect our weekends are nearly three days because the New Zealand weekend starts when it’s still Friday in the United States (we know our community comes largely from the UK, US, and New Zealand).

Here’s what that looks like. We got a bit of a bump from the news coverage early in the year, and then things drifted down.


Lets focus then on the more normal part of the year to see what’s happening over time. We got a bit of a bump from some presentations and publicity in April/May 2016, and things slowed down a bit after that. We’re really gratified to see that since our presentations in Wellington in July 2016 there’s been a sustained growth over the last couple of months. February-October.png

Is this enough to build a memorial and research database by the end of the centenary of World War I? Not yet! Every day we’re now completing the equivalent of about 2-3 files, depending on how many lines there are on the statement of services and History Sheets. By completing we mean that every field has been done three times.

How does this compare to other Zooniverse projects? Very well indeed. We’re not as popular as Galaxy Zoo or Snapshot Serengeti in classifications per day, but we’re around where Penguin Watch is, which is great. But our challenge is that each image (a page in a file) contains so much information. On each image we’re trying to get 5-30 pieces of information, whereas other projects have a smaller number of tasks per image. It’s just the nature of the material. So we need to keep going, and we need you, our force of transcribers to help us recruit more people. If you think there’s an analogy to the war and getting men to the front, you’re right. We need volunteers (and we need conscripts).

The goal is both audacious and achievable. Audacious because a complete transcription of the main pages of 140,541 files is a big task. Achievable because there are more than 3 million adults in New Zealand. If every high school student and their family adopted two soldiers and marked and transcribed their file we’d be done. If every one with an ancestor who served marked and transcribed one file we’d be done. Help us do that. Reach out now to people you know and share the goal with them. Thank you for a great foundational year, let’s keep going further and faster!



4 responses to “Audacious and achievable: Progress towards our goals.”

  1. Shon McColm says :

    I started on this yesterday, I had seen a Zooniverse item on BBC 1 in the UK and went on line to see what Zooniverse was all about. I registered, logged in and immediately started being fed documents, which I transcribed to the best of my ability. How do I know they are accurate, have been seen by anyone, or are even real? My grandfather and his three brothers all served in WW1 and I have their papers, so am a little familiar with what one can expect to see. I would love to do this, but wondering if there is any feedback?


    • Evan Roberts, Measuring the ANZACs says :

      hi Shon, thanks for checking in and joining the Measuring the ANZACs forces. We have every document transcribed by three people. If you’re logged in then you shouldn’t get the chance to do the same document more than once — you can see it, but you can’t be the second or third transcriptions after you’ve done the first. This helps minimize inaccuracy from people making mistakes or wanting to cause trouble.

      We’ve checked hundreds of pages ourselves — once we have the transcriptions it’s very easy to compare. We see just a few errors out of every thousand transcriptions. Most people are doing a great job, and the good thing is that minor spelling mistakes (Chrustchorch is going to be recognized as Christchurch) don’t matter much. The numbers are more important 5′ 4″ is a bit shorter than 5′ 7″, and we want to get ages and weights and dates right.

      Please join the discussion on Talk when you find interesting documents and stories (click Discuss this personnel record) on the bottom right. We love to hear from our volunteers. If you enjoy the contributions you’re making and community, please tell others! Like the army we’re always looking to get more good recruits.

      Welcome to Measuring the ANZACs, we’re glad to have you in the forces.
      Evan Roberts (researcher)


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