State Library - Recognition of Excellence for Innovation & Disruptive Use of Technology

Mark Biegel
July 31, 2017

The State Library of NSW’s innovative approach to engage online volunteers has received an Excellence award for Innovation and Disruptive use of technology by OpenGOV Asia in a recent awards ceremony.


The Amplify platform was created to crowd-source volunteers to help with the transcription of over 11,000 hours of historical sound archive collections.

An ongoing initiative of the Library had enabled them to create digital versions of their sound collection, but finding a way to deliver time-coded transcripts for each recording was important in ensuring the collection was truly accessible.

The State Library of NSW conducted extensive research to find platforms available for transcribing and delivering audio transcripts. While they found quite a few, the most suited was the New York Public Library’s Transcript Editor. Most of the platform is written in Ruby on Rails, with 70-80% of their codebase matching the State Library’s requirements. It made sense to modify and customise New York Public Library’s existing codebase rather than try to reinvent the wheel.

The Library engaged reinteractive to complete the project due to our enthusiasm for the project and our quick response to the Library’s brief.

With the system fully in place, the State Library’s sound archives are being materially improved for use on a daily basis by volunteers.

Platform Benefits

  • Transcription editing platform completed in just 4 weeks ready for launch.

  • Achieving 100% of the initial scope within budget

  • Ability to create a new dataset of accurate transcripts for a historical sound collection

  • Creating an opportunity to generate more interest in and engagement with the Library’s rich sound archive.