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Category: Blog Action Day

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. ... 

Blog Action Day: Flickr Commons Images of Acquiring Water

Water in Bengal
Water in Benal (1944)

In honor of this year’s Blog Action Day theme of Water, I wanted to share some stunning images from the Flickr Commons. The images I have selected, contributed by cultural heritage institutions from around the world, show methods of transportation or acquisition of water. I will let the images speak for themselves below, but next time you go to turn on the tap water in your home – think of all of those for whom getting water is a huge challenge each and every day. While most of the images below are from decades ago, easy access to safe, clean water is still a current issue. Please consider supporting an organization like Charity: Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects. ... 

Blog Action Day 2009: IEDRO and Climate Change

IEDRO LogoIn honor of Blog Action Day 2009‘s theme of Climate Change, I am revisiting the subject of a post I wrote back in the summer of 2007: International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO). This non-profit’s goal is to rescue and digitize at risk weather and climate data from around the world. In the past two years, IEDRO has been hard at work. Their website has gotten a great face-lift, but even more exciting is to see is how much progress they have made! ... 

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty in the Archival Record and Beyond

Blog Action Day - Poverty long

In honor of this year’s Blog Action Day theme of Poverty, I want to point people to examples of ways in which poverty is documented in archives, manuscript collections and elsewhere.

The most obvious types of records that document poverty are:

There are also organizations dedicated to research on poverty – such as the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research and National Poverty Center. The archival records from groups such as these could show ways that organizations have addressed poverty over time, as well as the history of poverty itself. ... 

Blog Action Day: A Look At Earth Day as Archived Online

In honor of this year’s Blog Action Day theme of discussing the environment, I decided to see what records the Internet had available about the history of Earth Day.

I started by simply Googling Earth Day. In a new browser window I opened the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. These were to be my two main avenues for unearthing the way that Earth Day was represented on the internet over the years. ...