SOURCE: Constitutional Sources Project

January 30, 2008 14:10 ET

The Constitutional Sources Project Receives $80,000 Grant From Verizon to Allow Free Online Access to Documents Penned by George Washington

ConSource.org Plans to Have Approximately 20,000 Washington Papers Online by Presidents Day

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 30, 2008) - The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource.org), the only free fully-indexed online library of Constitutional sources, announced it is receiving an $80,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, to digitize approximately 20,000 of George Washington's writings. The digital collection will be accessible in raw text format and will provide public access to thousands of documents that have lain dormant and inaccessible since our nation's inception. The collection will be unveiled online at www.ConSource.org in time for Presidents Day, Feb. 18.

"We are proud to recognize Verizon's commitment to democratize the documents that shaped our Constitution," said Lorianne Updike, President and Executive Director of the Constitutional Sources Project. "The addition of Washington's papers represents a significant and exciting addition to the five collections already housed in our digital archive."

In conjunction with the digitization of George Washington's papers, ConSource announces the release of a public online proofreading tool to facilitate the transcription process for these precious historical documents. After documents are scanned and converted to text, a process which typically renders the text 90-95 percent accurate, anyone with Internet access who meets a few simple reading qualifications can volunteer through ConSource.org to proofread the transcriptions along-side the original source, improving the accuracy and legibility of the documents. After the review, the document's transcription will be given the ConSource certification seal of accuracy and placed in the ConSource Archive.

"For the first time in history, anyone can play an integral part in preserving our nation's history, particularly those who love George Washington," said Ms. Updike.

As the papers are proofread by the public, ConSource staff will add images of the original documents from all of the 300+ private and public archives housing George Washington's documents included in the project.

"This is a wonderful example of how technology can play a vital role in creating greater educational opportunities for all. Through the click of a mouse anyone within reach of a computer will have access to documents penned by our nation's first president, providing us all with a greater awareness of our civic responsibilities," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Verizon is proud to partner with The Constitutional Sources Project on this valuable program."

The grant to ConSource is the latest in the Verizon Foundation's efforts to provide free online access of educational materials for teachers, students and parents. Last year, the Verizon Foundation committed more than $31 million to Thinkfinity.org, which provides more than 55,000 educational resources, K-12 lesson plans and student interactives online for free.

Thinkfinity.org is featuring many special lesson plans and resources focusing on George Washington to commemorate President's Day and ConSource's launch of George Washington's papers online.

Washington's papers and the proofreading tool will be available on ConSource.org beginning February 13, 2008 and will be commemorated through an online classroom taught by David McCullough.

About the Constitutional Sources Project

Founded in May of 2005, The Constitutional Sources Project launched the only free fully-indexed online library of Constitution sources for "We the People" at www.ConSource.org on September 17, 2007. This new medium will give the Founders, Reconstructionists, and original Feminists voices in the classroom and courtroom, providing everyone from the sixth grader to the Supreme Court justice with the best history of the Constitution. Current collections include James Madison's handwritten notes of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers, the Anti and Pro-Federalist Papers, state ratification debates for seven states, and the Bill of Rights' legislative history.

About Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

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