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Category: archival community

Harnessing The Power of We: Transcription, Acquisition and Tagging

In honor of the Blog Action Day for 2012 and their theme of ‘The Power of We’, I would like to highlight a number of successful crowdsourced projects focused on transcribing, acquisition and tagging of archival materials. Nothing I can think of embodies ‘the power of we’ more clearly than the work being done by many hands from across the Internet.

Transcription

  • Old Weather Records: “Old Weather volunteers explore, mark, and transcribe historic ship’s logs from the 19th and early 20th centuries. We need your help because this task is impossible for computers, due to diverse and idiosyncratic handwriting that only human beings can read and understand effectively. By participating in Old Weather you’ll be helping advance research in multiple fields. Data about past weather and sea-ice conditions are vital for climate scientists, while historians value knowing about the course of a voyage and the events that transpired. Since many of these logs haven’t been examined since they were originally filled in by a mariner long ago you might even discover something surprising.”
  • From The Page: “FromThePage is free software that allows volunteers to transcribe handwritten documents on-line.” A number of different projects are using this software including: The San Diego Museum of Natural History’s project to transcribe the field notes of herpetologist Laurence M. Klaube and Southwestern University’s project to transcribe the Mexican War Diary of Zenas Matthews.
  • National Archives Transcription: as part of the National Archives Citizen Archivist program, individuals have the opportunity to transcribe a variety of records. As described on the transcription home page: “letters to a civil war spy, presidential records, suffrage petitions, and fugitive slave case files”.

Acquisition:

Archive Team: The ArchiveTeam describes itself as “a rogue archivist collective dedicated to saving copies of rapidly dying or deleted websites for the sake of history and digital heritage.” Here is an example of the information gathered, shared and collaborated on by the ArchiveTeam focused on saving content from Friendster. The rescued data is (whenever possible) uploaded in the Internet Archive and can be found here:

Springing into action, Archive Team began mirroring Friendster accounts, downloading all relevant data and archiving it, focusing on the first 2-3 years of Friendster’s existence (for historical purposes and study) as well as samples scattered throughout the site’s history – in all, roughly 20 million of the 112 million accounts of Friendster were mirrored before the site rebooted. ... 

Heading to Austin for SXSW Interactive

Anyone out there going to be at SXSWi? I would love to find like-minded DH (digital humanities) and GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums) folks in Austin. If you can’t go, what do you wish I would attend and blog about after the fact?

No promises on thoroughness of my blogging of course. I never have mastered the ‘live blogging’ approach, but I do enjoy taking notes and if the past is any guide to the future I usually manage at least 2 really detailed posts on sessions from any one conference. The rest end up being notes to myself that I always mean to somehow go back to and post later. Maybe I need to spend a month just cleaning up and posting old session summaries (or at least those that still seem interesting and relevant!). ... 

ArchivesZ Needs You!

I got a kind email today asking “Whither ArchivesZ?”. My reply was: “it is sleeping” (projects do need their rest) and “I just started a new job” (I am now a Metadata and Taxonomy Consultant at The World Bank) and “I need to find enthusiastic people to help me”. That final point brings me to this post.

I find myself in the odd position of having finished my Master’s Degree and not wanting to sign on for the long haul of a PhD. So I have a big project that was born in academia, initially as a joint class project and more recently as independent research with a grant-funded programmer, but I am no longer in academia. ... 

Interactive Archivist: Spellbound Blog as a Case Study

I realized while at MARAC at the end of October that I never posted here about the completion and publication of the Interactive Archivist: Case Studies in Utilizing Web 2.0 to Improve the Archival Experience. The brainchild of J. Gordon Daines III and Cory Nimer, this free SAA ePublication only exists online and brings together ten Web 2.0 archivist-oriented case studies covering blogs, mashups, tagging, wikis, Facebook and more. It also includes thorough introductions to each of the technologies covered by case studies, an annotated bibliography and a link to a living list of resources on Delicious... 

A History of Our Own, Representing Communities and Identities on the Web (SAA09: Session 202)

LOC Flickr Commons: Sylvia Sweets Tea RoomAndrew Flinn, University College London (UCL), was the second speaker during SAA09’s Session 202 with his presentation ‘A History of Our Own, Representing Communities and Identities on the Web’. Flinn began with the idea that archives are “a place for creating and re-working memory”. While independent community archives are constituted around many purposes, Flinn’s main interest is in communities focused on absences and mis-representation of a group or event in history. Communities in which there is a cultural, politcal, or artistic activism. Some of these communities may be considered ‘movements’. ... 

Archival Collections Online: Reaching Audiences Beyond The Edge of Campus (SAA09: Session 405)

The Archivist's Life, 23 May 1954Expanding Your Local and Global Audiences (Session 405, SAA 2009) shared how three institutions of higher education are using the web to reach out to new audiences. While the general public may still hold close the stereotype of archives as of rooms full of boxes of paper (not so different from this Duke image on Flickr: “Mattie Russell, curator of manuscripts, and Jay Luvaas, director of the Flowers Collection, examine the papers of Senator Willis Smith in the library vault.”), the presenters in this session are focused on expanding peoples’ experience of archives beyond boxes of papers locked away in a vault. They are using the web as a tool to reach beyond the walls of their reading rooms and the edges of their campuses. ... 

SAA09: My Session on Online Communities (Session 101)

Thank you to everyone who came to our session this morning (Building, Managing, and Participating in Online Communities: Avoiding Culture Shock Online). Word on the street is that we had about 150 people in the audience.

As I mentioned during our talk – here is the Online Communities Comparison Chart. Please let me know if you have any issues accessing this document and feel free to share it with anyone you like. ... 

SAA2009: Building, Managing and Participating in Online Communities

SAA 2009: Sustainable Archives AUSTIN 09It is official – the panel I proposed for SAA 2009 (aka, Sustainable Archives: AUSTIN 2009) was accepted!

Title: Building, Managing and Participating in Online Communities: Avoiding Culture Shock Online

Abstract: As more archival materials move online, archivists must become adept at participating in and managing online communities. This session will discuss real world experiences of this involvement, including putting images into the Flickr Commons and links to archival materials in Wikipedia, as well as guidelines on cultural norms within online communities. We will also discuss choosing between building new communities from scratch vs joining a broader, existing community (such as the Flickr Commons). ... 

SpellboundBlog Bookmarks now on Delicious

After reviewing the results of the ArchivesNext poll that Kate was so kind to organize, I created a Delicious account for Spellboundblog. Then I got to the hard part – sorting through my previously private list of bookmarks and separating personal bookmarks from ‘on topic’ bookmarks to share with the Spellbound Blog community (such as there is one). I had never really sat down and re-examined my tagging strategy. It was a very interesting experience. I cleaned up my tags (like combining the ‘photo’ and ‘photos’ tags into a single photos tag) and deleted some dead links I found by accident. ...