Google Summer of Code application

Please use this form to edit the Organization Application.

Link ID

uscript

Group Name

uScript

Home Page URL

http://www.uscript.org

Public Email

ude.ipw|arerrac#ude.ipw|arerrac

Description

uScript is an open-source project intended to cumulatively harvest transcriptions produced by historical scholars from original manuscripts preserved in archives around the world. The goal of this project is to provide the highest quality, free online transcription assistance service in exchange for retaining the product of transcribers, which will be shared in a virtuous positive feedback cycle until all of the history contained in handwritten parchments is gradually transferred to searchable digital text.

In short, uScript is an online software application to assist archivists and historians in transcribing their manuscripts into digital form. Transcriptions are subsequently stored online in a database, where others may continue to work on them.

uScript is the work of dozens of students during the past 11 years and is a product of the Emergent Transcriptions Initiative at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (http://www.wpi.edu), an engineering, science and technology university in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Emergent Transcriptions Initiative is itself an ongoing project of the Venice Project Center (VPC), which has overseen more than 120 student projects at its office in Venice, Italy, since it was founded in 1988. Consequently, uScript and the VPC has excellent resources in place and years of experience managing students and their projects.

The Venice Project Center's website can be found at http://www.venice2point0.org/.

Why is your group applying to participate? What do you hope to gain by participating?

In participating in the Google Summer of Code 2009, we seek the help of Google and talented young programmers in developing uScript as an open source initative to the point that it can be used by archivists, historians and other entities in crowdsourcing the transcription of their collections. In doing so, we hope to give students some insight into the complex and unique problem of manuscript transcription, as well as valuable experience in the ever-growing field of crowdsourcing; if a few capable developers become attached to our project in the process, so much the better. In addition, we hope and expect that participation in GSoC 2009 will provide some publicity and help us to find homes for our software.

What is the main public mailing list for your group?

ude.ipw|tpircsu#ude.ipw|tpircsu

Where is the main IRC channel for your group?

Not applicable.

What criteria do you use to select the members of your group? Please be as specific as possible.

All of our mentors are long-time, close partners of and collaborators with the Venice Project Center and its initiatives. Here is a little bit about some of our mentors and administrators:

Stephen Guerin (moc.hsifder|nireug.nehpets#moc.hsifder|nireug.nehpets) is president of RedfishGroup, an R&D consultancy firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico that applies the science of complex adaptive systems. His work centers on visualization, modeling and the design of self-organizing systems. His expertise in web-based programming and experience as a summer lecturer to high school and university students at the Santa Fe Institute make him an ideal mentor.

Fabio Carrera (moc.liamg|oibaf.arerrac#moc.liamg|oibaf.arerrac) is a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. He founded WPI's Venice Project Center in Venice, Italy in 1988, and has advised and overseen projects by more than 500 students and volunteers. He is an expert in the areas of urban information systems and planning, lectures at MIT, and maintains a close involvement with his home communities in Venice and Massachusetts.

Owen Densmore (ten.secapskcab|newo#ten.secapskcab|newo) has over 30 years of experience in the computer industry, having worked with three of the industry's most innovative companies: Xerox, Apple, and Sun Microsystems. His work has included language systems, networked multimedia, Java nomadics, the Macintosh Printing Architecture, RFID systems, and embedded Java devices. He earned his Bachelors Degree in Math and Physics from Georgia Tech in 1964, and his Masters in Physics from Syracuse University in 1968.

Gary Pollice (ude.ipw|ecillopg#ude.ipw|ecillopg) is a professor of Computer Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His interests include aspect-oriented software development, software testing, and programming methods. Gary is popular with his students and has been an excellent resource to us and our students in the past.

Nate Piper (moc.liamg|repipwn#moc.liamg|repipwn) received his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2008. He now works for ATG as a software engineer. Nate spent two months in 2008 in Venice, Italy developing uScript, so he is an ideal mentor for new students contributing to the project.

Kyle Miller (moc.liamg|llimelyk#moc.liamg|llimelyk) is an undergraduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and will be graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering in May 2009. He has spent time on Venice Project Center projects in Venice, Italy and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and will be acting as uScript's administrator this summer.

We are always looking for others who are interested in helping with uScript. uScript mentors must be experienced, knowledgeable in programming, and willing to work closely with students. Experience in teaching roles is therefore a plus, but we will happily interview those who may wish to mentor for us, if we are not closely acquainted with them already.

Has your group participated previously? If so, please summarize your involvement and any past successes and failures.

uScript has not participated in previous Google Summers of Code.

If your group has not previously participated, have you applied in the past? If so, for what sort of participation?

uScript has not previously applied to participate in any Google Summer of Code.

What license does your organization use?

GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3)

What is the URL to the ideas list of your organization?

http://uscript.wikidot.com/ideas-list

What is the main development mailing list for your group?

Developers typically communicate by email and Skype.

What is the application template you would like contributors to your organization to use.

We request that interested students provide us with the following:

  • a résumé
  • full contact information (IM, Skype, email addresses, phone numbers)
  • a list of previous open-source experience
  • a brief biography
  • a statement expressing the reason for their interest in the uScript project
  • availability (expected hours per week, planned "unavailable" dates, etc.)
  • the geographic location they will be living this summer
  • online examples of previous coding experience (if available)
  • particular coding or topical interests related to this project

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing contributors?

At the start of the Summer, we will gather online and offline contact information from our students and ask them to notify us of any time they plan to take off.

We will additionally require students to contact their mentor(s) with a progress report once a week. Should a student fail to check in, we will use the information they have provided to try to make contact. However, we appreciate the difficulties posed by the long-distance communication involved in the GSoC and will do our best to be understanding.

Besides instructing our mentors to maintain close contact with our students and to thoroughly engage them in the UScript project, we accept that a student who is truly not interested cannot be made to work on any project, including ours. We will not spend half of the Summer chasing a student who is not interested or motivated.

What is your plan for dealing with disappearing members?

As our mentors will be those we know personally and have worked with closely in the past, we do not expect any problems with disappearing mentors. Should an emergency arise that requires one of our mentors leave the project (permanently or temporarily), however, we will assign a new mentor to the student(s) affected. We plan to maintain one "backup" mentor who can step in should a regular mentor need to take time off from the program.

We will also instruct students to notify an administrator of any difficulties in contacting a mentor.

What steps will you take to encourage contributors to interact with your community before, during, and after the program?

We will encourage students to be in contact with each other (as well as uScript and others involved in multiple aspects of our Venice projects) as they prepare to work on and are completing their summer assignments. Our previous projects have covered such a wide range of topics that rare would be the student who was not interested in something we have done already.

We lament the distributed nature of the Summer, but would welcome students to visit us in person in Santa Fe (New Mexico), Worcester (Massachusetts), or Venice (Italy), during or after the Summer.

What will you do to ensure that your accepted contributors stick with the project after the program concludes?

Of course, we hope that students find the work they do with uScript stimulating and fulfilling. Our mentors are very engaging people, and it would not be unusual for students who work with them to wish to continue their involvement in our mentors' projects, whether on uScript or other open-source development.

Given that they will become quite knowledgeable in the use of their code, we will ask our students to stay in touch and will see if they are willing to offer further help in the form of documentation or mentoring students in future. At the end of the Summer, we will ask them to prepare a summary of their work, outlining their accomplishments and related new work that might result from their project (i.e., the Ideas List).

Please select your backup group administrator.

WE NEED THIS!!

Admin agreement

Google Summer of Code 2009 Mentor Organization Participant Agreement

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ THIS PARTICIPANT AGREEMENT CAREFULLY AND COMPLETELY
BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION FOR GOOGLE SUMMER OF CODE 2009. YOUR
APPLICATION SIGNIFIES YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND AGREEMENT WITH THE FOLLOWING TERMS
AND CONDITIONS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THESE TERMS, YOU MAY NOT SUBMIT AN
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YOUR APPLICATION.

Capitalized terms used in this Participation Agreement (the "Agreement")
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