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John Muir journals transcription project

The University's Holt-Atherton Special Collections is seeking volunteers to assist in transcribing John Muir digitized journals. Get inside the head of this great naturalist and help make Muir's thoughts more available to researchers and the public.
May 19, 2014

"The Mission vine, the first planted in California, is a good table grape, but a poor wine grape and brings a very low price for either table or wine. The padres ought to have known better, such good judges as they are in most things relating to the stomach..." — John Muir from January-July 1895—Ranch Life, Martinez

Holt-Atherton Special Collections is the home to the largest collection of John Muir material in the world and includes 78 of Muir's personal journals. Though the journals have been digitized, only a few have been transcribed. They can be viewed online, but are not keyword searchable. Word-for-word transcriptions open up many more possibilities for researchers and for the general public to read and understand  Muir's thoughts as he experienced them. It also facilitates online searching to locate information by specific topics.

Volunteers can transcribe an entire journal or even just a single page. Even transcribing one or two pages increases the discoverablity for historians, Muir enthusiasts, students, or anyone searching the internet.

Faculty members may also use the transcription project as a class project. This past spring, students in visiting professor Anett Jessop's English classes helped transcribe Muir's 1877 journal as he explored the Utah Territory. The experience gave them a new appreciation and understanding of the emerging technologies of digital humanities, as well as a window into the thoughts of this famous naturalist.

Archivist Michael Wurtz is the project leader and would be happy to provide additional information about the initiative if you're interested.

View project information online: John Muir Papers Transcriptions>> or contact Michael Wurtz at

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