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FromThePage is an open-source tool that allows volunteers to collaborate to transcribe handwritten documents.


  • Wiki-style Editing: Users add or edit transcriptions using simple, wiki-style syntax on one side of the screen while viewing a scanned image of the manuscript page on the other side.
  • Version Control: Changes to each page transcription are recorded and may be viewed to follow the edit history of a page.
  • Wikilinks: Subjects mentioned within the document may are indexed via simple wikilinks within the transcription. Users can annotate subjects with full subject articles.
  • Presentation: Readers can view transcriptions in a multi-page format or alongside page images. They can also read all the pages that mention a subject
  • Automatic Markup: FromThePage can suggest wikilinks to editors by mining previously edited transcriptions. This helps insure editorial consistency and vastly reduces the amount of effort involved in markup.
  • Internet Archive integration: FromThePage can be pointed at manuscripts hosted on It will import the page structure and any printed page titles into its native format for transcription, while serving page images from the Internet Archive.


FromThePage is currently issued under the Affero GPL. This license remains controversial, however, so we are trying to preserve the option to dual-license the code.


FromThePage has been run successfully under both Linux and Windows. It currently requires Ruby on Rails version 2.3.5 and the RMagick, hpricot, will_paginate, and OAI gems.


Install Ruby, rubygems, Apache, ImageMagick and MySQL

These should be fairly standard unless you’re using Fedora, in which case see Installing Rails on Fedora 13. Most hosting providers (like will have these installed already.

Install required gems

gem install hpricot oai will_paginate rmagick
gem install -v 2.3.5 rails

Configure MySQL

Create a database and user account for FromThePage to use.

Install FromThePage

First install git.

git clone git://

Next, point the DocumentRoot of your webserver to the public subdirectory of the FromThePage installation you just checked out.
Then update the
file to point to the MySQL user account and database you created above.
Finally, run
rake db:migrate
to load the schema definition into the database account.
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