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Category: historical research

Archival Transcriptions: for the public, by the public

There is a recent thread on the archives listserv that talks about transcriptions – specifically for small projects or those that have little financial support. There is even a case in which there is no easy OCR answer due to the state of the digitized microfilm records.
One of the suggestions was to use some combination of human effort to read the documents – either into a program that would transcribe them, or to another human who would do the typing. It made me wonder what it would look like to make a place online where people who wanted to could volunteer their transcription time. In the case where the records are already digitized and viewable, this seems like an interesting approach. ... 

Records Speaking to the Present: Voices Not Silenced

When I composed my main essay for my application to University of Maryland’s MLS program, I wrote about why I was drawn to their Archives Program. I told them I revel in hearing the voices of the past speak through records such as those at EllisIsland.org. I love the power that records can wield – especially when they can be accessed digitally from anywhere in the world. It is this sort of power that let me see the ship manifests and the names of the boats on which my grandparents came to this country (such as The Finland ). ... 

My New Daydream: A Hosting Service for Digitized Collections

In her post Predictions over on hangingtogether.org, Merrilee asked “Where do you predict that universities, libraries, archives, and museums will be irresistibly drawn to pooling their efforts?” after reading this article.

And I say: what if there were an organization that created a free (or inexpensive fee-based) framework for hosting collections of digitized materials? What I am imagining is a large group of institutions conspiring to no longer be in charge of designing, building, installing, upgrading and supporting the websites that are the vehicle for sharing digital historical or scholarly materials. I am coming at this from the archivists perspective (also having just pondered the need for something like this in my recent post: Promise to Put It All Online ) – so I am imagining a central repository that would support the upload of digitized records, customizable metadata and a way to manage privacy and security. ... 

Session 510: Digital History and Digital Collections (aka, a fan letter for Roy and Dan)

There were lots of interesting ideas in the talks given by Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig during their SAA session Archives Seminar: Possibilities and Problems of Digital History and Digital Collections (session 510).

Two big ideas were discussed: the first about historians and their relationship to internet archiving and the second about using the internet to create collections around significant events. These are not the same thing. ...