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Help preserve history and earn PDCs at the 2022 NCRA Conference & Expo

Attendees at the 2022 NCRA Conference & Expo happening July 21-24 in Orlando, Fla., interested in helping to preserve African American history and earning PDCs (Professional Development Credits*), can sign up to participate in a special NCRF-sponsored Transcribe-a-Thon event being held Thurs., July 21, from 3-5 p.m.

Participants will help share and preserve African American history by transcribing Freedmen’s Bureau Records from the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Smithsonian staff will kick off the session via a Zoom call and instruct participants on how the transcription proceedings will go, making group assignments of two to three court reporters or captioners. The groups will work on their writers, laptops, or iPads to transcribe in realtime letters from slaves from centuries ago.

NCRA member Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, an official court reporter from Washington, D.C., worked with the Smithsonian Transcription Center and staff from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., to host a virtual transcribe-a-thon during NCRA’s 2022 Court Reporting & Captioning Week that was open to all stenographers, captioners, and CART providers. Rogers, who chairs NCRA’s Membership Committee, has also worked to put together the Transcribe-a-Thon being held in Orlando, which will be a part of the ongoing project to transcribe more than 1.5 million original documents from the post-Civil War era.

The Freedmen’s Bureau, formally known as the U. S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, was created by Congress in 1865 to “assist in the political and social reconstruction of post-war Southern states and to help formerly enslaved people make the transition from slavery to freedom and citizenship,” according to the museum’s promotional materials. The Bureau has created millions of records containing the names of formerly enslaved individuals and Southern white refugees. In 2016 the Smithsonian began its largest crowdsourcing project ever to begin transcribing these records.

NCRA President Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, who attended the virtual event in February, said later that she had no idea what to expect. “I was incapacitated with amazement at the quality and depth of history in these documents. One of the most life-changing opportunities I’ve been given the privilege to participate in. One of the most creative and inventive activities I’ve ever seen. Watching reporters work together to decipher centuries-old documents and writings to preserve a legacy … priceless,” she added on a Facebook post.

Please note that laptops are recommended for this event and registration is limited to 50 people. Conference attendees who register with the Transcription Center and volunteer to transcribe during this session will receive 0.25 PDC. Register here to participate in the upcoming Transcribe-a-Thon.

Read about the transcribe-a-thon hosted during NCRA’s 2022 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

*PDCs are Professional Development Credits, a subset of Continuing Education Units, which can be applied to the overall CEU requirement for maintaining certification. PDCs may be granted for qualifying activities that do not include class time, such as transcribing documents for the NCRF Oral Histories Project. Most individuals are limited to 1.0 PDC per cycle toward their continuing education requirements.