American Archive enlists public in fixing transcripts with correction game

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Attention grammar nerds: A new online game seeks your help to correct machine-generated transcriptions of historical public media content.

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s FIX IT game invites the public to listen to audio clips and follow along with transcripts to correct misspelled and missing words, poor grammar and other errors. Players accumulate points by flagging errors and making corrections. Catching enough mistakes can get them listed on a leaderboard.

Players can also take pleasure in making historical content, including speeches by political, civil rights and arts leaders, more accurate and accessible. Because as any writer, editor or grammarian knows, corrections are fun.

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation. AAPB coordinates a national effort to preserve at-risk public media and make it publicly accessible.

Seattle community radio station C89.5/KNHC plans to incorporate FIX IT in the classroom and educational materials to train aspiring broadcasters. And the NYU Prison Education Program will encourage its formerly incarcerated students to play the game to help develop editing and digital skills, according to an archive press release. AAPB is developing a certificate program for students who complete a certain number of challenges.

Transcripts are mostly presented to users at random. Players can customize the types of transcripts they review by setting preferences to a particular station, state or topic.

In Game 1, players identify errors for others to fix. In Game 2, players correct errors already flagged. And in Game 3, players validate corrections.

“Once transcripts have reached consensus, AAPB developers harvest the transcripts from an API and index them on the website,” a WGBH spokesperson said in an email. The transcripts will be made available alongside media on AAPB’s website.