GPF Comics Archive


About Transcriptions | Comics Needing Transcriptions | Transcriptions Needing Improvement

Last updated August 4, 2016

4140 out of 4140 comics in the Archive are currently transcribed, or 100%

Welcome to the GPF Transcriptions page! Here you'll find all sorts of information about our volunteer efforts to transcribe the entire GPF Archive into easily searchable text. To learn more about this effort, keep reading! Otherwise, please click one of the links above to see how you can help.

What are transcriptions?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a transcription is "the act or process of making a written, printed, or typed copy of words that have been spoken". In the case of our comics, it's the act of taking descriptive information (dialog, scene descriptions, etc.) stored in a non-searchable image format and converting it into simple text, which is far more easily searched.

Over the years, GPF has had a number of transcription projects in place. We started at first with an in-house project powered by Jeff's own code, but this was eventually superseded by the Oh No Robot webcomic search engine. Through the combination of these services, the overwhelming majority of the GPF Archive was transcribed in some form or another. Eventually, however, Jeff decided to bring the transcription database back in-house to minimize our dependencies on outside services. Using the Oh No Robot data as a seed, our current transcription system expands upon the transcriptions many of you have already provided to further our goal to make GPF available to everyone.

Of course, the GPF Archive is always expanding as new comics are added on a regular basis. In addition, many of our existing transcriptions are sadly insufficient; some were added before we had stringent guidelines set in place, while others were contributed mostly as a foundation for others to build upon. Thus our transcription project is always ongoing, requiring new and updated transcriptions to be added all the time. Since Jeff already puts a considerable amount of time, effort, and money into making the strip itself, he doesn't have the resources to tackle this effort all on his own. That's why we're reaching out to you, our loyal readers, to volunteer.

How are GPF's transcriptions used?

GPF's comic transcriptions actually have a multitude of uses, many of which directly impact the usability of our site and help improve the enjoyment of the strip by your fellow readers:

  • Our transcriptions are the raw data behind our new Archive Search engine. Using the transcriptions you and other Faulties have already provided, you can search our Archive for keywords, characters, dialog, and (in many cases) scene descriptions. This can be incredibly useful for finding that one comic where than thing happened or somebody said something like this, but you can't remember the date it appeared on or even which story it belonged to. This is something that's nearly impossible to do with raw images, and certainly impractical to do on an on-demand basis.
  • Some of our avid readers are visually impaired, making their enjoyment of a comic composed entirely of images rather difficult. However, with the help of your transcriptions and screen reading technology, this subset of our readership can enjoy the comic just like everyone else. Approved transcriptions are included into all of our Archive pages and, although hidden from view by most browsers, can be translated by screen reader apps into spoken text. By transcribing a comic or two, you can go a long way toward helping this class of readers appreciate the comic just as much as you do.
  • A side effect of having the transcriptions hidden in every Archive page is that major Internet search engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and others, can collect this data and cross-reference it. This makes our entire Archive searchable by these services and thus more accessible to folks who may not yet be regular readers but who might stumble upon a topic we've covered in one of their searches. By helping us transcribe our comics, you could be indirectly pointing brand new readers our way, helping to spread the word to people you may never meet.
  • While some folks may not think of this as a benefit, our advertising suppliers will also scan these hidden transcriptions, looking for contextual information. Armed with this meta-data, these ad companies can then serve more relevant, topical ads based on the Archive page itself. This means you'll see less annoying junk ads and more that you might actually be interested in. These ads tend to fetch higher prices, meaning we here at GPF get a bigger slice of the pie. By transcribing a few comics here and there, you could be helping us out financially, increasing our ad revenue by helping us target more effective ads.

What can I do to help?

In our new system, transcriptions fall into four different states, which can be split into two categories: needed vs. needs improvement, and unapproved vs. approved. In general, you don't need to worry about the unapproved vs. approved state; this is part of Jeff's bookkeeping, and you will only see approved transcriptions appear on the site. That said, let's step through the process so you can get a better idea how things work.

When the daily update occurs, the comics are moved out of a staging area and into the main Archive, making the image visible to you (the readers) and adding an entry for the comic in our database. At this point, the comic likely does not have a transcription, unless Jeff has added one manually beforehand. If there is no transcription for a comic in the database, the following image button will appear underneath the comic:

[Transcribe this comic! button]

If you click this button, you will be transfered to a new page that redisplays the comic image and provides a text box where you can enter the transcription. Follow these instructions as best you can; while we understand that some people won't feel comfortable or have time to write up exhaustive descriptions of every panel, anything you can add will be better than nothing. That said, the more comprehensive your transcription is, the more helpful it will be to others. When finished, simply click the Submit button to add your transcription into the approval queue. At this point, you will find a link at the bottom of the confirmation page that will take you right back to the Archive page you just left, so you'll be able to pick up reading right where you left off.

Once the transcription goes into the queue, Jeff will be notified to take a look at it. He will review the transcription and either approve it, mark it as needing improvement, or reject it. Approved and "needs improvement" transcriptions will be moved into the main transcription database table, making them immediately available to search engines, screen readers, and everyone else. Rejected transcriptions will be discarded, marking the comic as needing a transcription again. (Please do not submit pointless transcriptions into the queue, as this is only a waste of Jeff's—and your—time.)

If a transcription is marked as needing improvement, it will still be included into the Archive page, but a new button will appear underneath the comic:

[Improve transcription! button]

Clicking this button will bring up the transcription page as before, only this time it will populate the transcription text box with the text of the previously submitted transcription. Jeff may also provide additional comments to guide you on how the transcription can be improved. You can edit the existing transcription and submit your improvements just like before. These will again go into Jeff's queue, where he can approve your changes, reject them (and keep the existing transcription in place), or mark them for even more refinement.

In addition to the buttons under the strips, this page can provide a list of all comics in the archive that either need a transcription or have a transcription that needs improving. These links are provided at the top and bottom of the page, no matter which display mode it is in. Each link in these lists will take you to the individual transcription page for that comic, just as if you clicked the button underneath the comic image. From there, the process is identical to what we described above.

We'd like to thank for your time spent reading about our transcription project, and hopefully for your contributions past and present to making it a reality. With thousands of comics in the GPF Archive, this isn't a task that one person can easily tackle alone. However, if everyone chips in a little time here and there, we can all help make GPF accessible to as many people as possible. Everyone's contributions, no matter how great or small, are deeply appreciated.

About Transcriptions | Comics Needing Transcriptions | Transcriptions Needing Improvement

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