No I am not going to start a full-scale scaremongering on the transcripts as befell Comfort's volume on the early papyri some time ago. IGNTP John is a great project (earlier posting on this blog here), also because it has a version on the Internet. Any project that makes its database publicly accessible is of tremendous value --- but I have a few worries.
Out of curiosity I checked one folio of the electronic transcript of Sinaiticus (folio 59) with my own transcript of Tischendorf's transcript, in cases of doubt with Tischendorf's transcript itself and also with the photographs. Only one folio, and only covering John 17:22 - 19:13, and this from only one manuscript.
This is what I found (and you can check for yourself here and here):
1) column 3, line 2:
IGNTP has δεδωκε, should be δεδωκεν
2) col. 3, l. 28:
IGNTP has συνεισηλθε, should be -θεν
3) col. 3, l. 37:
IGNTP has ειπε, should be -πεν
4) col. 7, l. 45
IGNTP has ειδον, should be ιδον
5) col. 7, l. 47
IGNTP has εκραξαν, should probably be - with Tischendorf - εκραξᾱ (with superstroke). This one is admittedly difficult as it is half under a correction.
6) col. 8, l. 11
IGNTP has οφειλει, should be οφιλει
7) col. 8, l. 17
IGNTP has εισηλθεν, should be εισηλθε̄ (with superstroke).
At one point the transcript is improving on Tischendorf:
col. 6, l. 42
IGNTP has rightly αληθειας, not αληθιας
The following point is 'undecided' without a better photograph:
col. 7, l. 36
IGNTP: no ο at end of line, Tischendorf: there is an ο.
The score in terms of penalty points:
[I had 3 errors in my transcription of Tischendorf, and I thought each of these three more annoying than the eight by IGNTP and Tischendorf combined.]
On the positive side I am glad there is nothing major, on the worrying side I think 7 errors on a folio is a little high. However, the advantage of electronic databases is that it is possible to clean them up slowly over the years, and, after all, we have to start somewhere, don't we?
Up-date: Do read the comments. It is clear that this particular electronic transcription was unreliable and should not have been on-line. The whole electronic edition has been temporarily withdrawn so that the technical problems can be fixed (hence the link given above may not work for the moment) - at least for Sinaiticus an early unchecked transcription was apparently put on-line even though an accurate and thoroughly checked transcription was available (and was used in the production of the book). So this looks like a technical problem in putting the wrong version of the transcription(s) on-line, and is not an indictment of the reliability of the textual work undertaken by the IGNTP team. None of these problems effect the reliablity of the published book. Do read the comments for more information. (PMH)