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New(s) from the Archives and Special Collections

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Join us in the Archives on Thursday, March 7th, 2019 for a marathon of transcribing historical menus from the CIA Menu Collection. 

Stop by to look through old menus and we'll get you started transcribing in no time!   We'll also debut a new version of menu bingo (with prizes, of course!) and have snacks (of course!).

What:     This season's menu transcribathon will feature African-American themed menus selected from the CIA Menu Collection.  The event is hosted by student Archives assistant, Khori Eubanks, who conceived of the idea and selected the menus.  Come support Khori, the Archives, and contribute to the ongoing digitization of our menu collection - so that all menus can be accessed anywhere by anyone!

When:    March 7 from 4:00 to 10:00 pm. (stay for as little or as long as you would like!)

Where:  Archives & Special Collections, Hilton Library (main floor)

Who:      Everyone is welcome!

Questions: Contact Nicole Semenchuk at or at (845) 451-1270.

Image from Jack's Nest Southern Kitchen dinner menu (CIA Menu Collection)


What is a Transcribathon?

A Transcribathon is a marathon when a group spends time together transcribing textual documents (in this case, menus).  Other colleges do it, too...

What is Transcribing?

Transcribing is recording exactly what is written (no translating or interpreting…) for the purpose of keyword searching the text of the menu in a digital collection.

Why do you need to transcribe the menus?

When we add menus to our digital collection, we make sure there is a transcription so that the menu is fully searchable. This way you can search for dishes--for instance, what is the earliest menu to list spaghetti?

In order to search this:                                                                                         We do this:



Will I be able to see some actual menus?

Absolutely. We will transcribe from jpgs but the actual menus will be in the Archives room for you to look at. Because we will have food and drinks, they will have to stay in the Archives room to be safe from spills and sticky hands :)

Can I stay for only a little while?

Yes, stay for as little or as long as you would like!

How will I know what to do?

We will provide introductions, instructions, and we will be here the entire time to answer questions!

I don't type well.

Don't worry about it!  I'll even show you some shortcuts so it won't be as much typing!

I still don't understand...

No problem!  Come anyway and we'll tell you everything you need to know.  Or give me a call or shoot me an email. (845) 451-1270

I'd be happy to answer any of your questions!


1. Select a Menu

Visit the Archives Reading Room to select a menu to transcribe.  Because we don't want to eat or drink while working with materials from the Archives, today we will be transcribing from digital images.  All of the menus on the table have already been scanned.  Once you select one, find its menu number and fill out the slip of paper provided.  Find a computer and from the transcribe page, request your menu (see below).

2. Request Your Menu

3. Transcribing Instructions

The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
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