In less than six hours, the polls in Maryland will open for the 2012 general election. Here on ‘election eve’ in the United States of America, I wanted to share some records of those who fought to gain the right to vote for all throughout the USA. Some of these you may have seen before – but I did my best to find images, audio, and video that may not have crossed your path. Why do we have these? In most cases it is because an archive kept them. ...
Centropa. org features video photo montages that combine Jewish family photographs with oral history. I found my way to Centropa from the Time.com article Old Nazi News Makes Headlines in Germany which includes Kristallnacht in Words and Photographs from Centropa, but Centropa’s mission reaches beyond recalling the Holocaust. Centropa bills itself as “an interactive database of Jewish memory”. ...
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:
- Photographs: Calisphere’s themed collections for the period 1929-1939: The Great Depression include images of the Dust Bowl Migration as well as general photos documenting Hard Times. The Library of Congress When They Were Young photo retrospective of childhood has a number of striking images.
- Music: Such as what can be found in the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.
- Newspapers: Which can include everything from human interest stories to classified ads – increasingly available online from sources including Google News Archive Search and the fee based NewspapeArchive.com.
- Census Records: The Census website has a special section dedicated to US Census Bureau poverty statistics, including a page of links to other sites dedicated to poverty research and statistics.
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. ...
The THATCamp session officially titled ‘Crowdsourcing’ on the schedule was actually aimed at discussing the intersection of crowdsourced transcription and collaborative annotation. The group was small – just six of us and Ben Brumfield got us going by giving us an overview of transcription software and projects:
- The FamilySearch Indexing Project is an LDS church project put out by the FamilySearch Labs. Their goals: “Volunteers extract family history information from digital images of historical documents to create searchable indexes that assist everyone in finding their ancestors.”
- The Manuscript Transcription Assistant is based at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and is described as “a tool to assist transcribers in creating transcriptions, and incorporate meta-data about each image and transcription that can then be used to search through an electronic library of transcriptions”. I found mention in the FAQ of the desire to create a community so that “transcribers will be able to collaborate their work by rating the quality of other user’s transcriptions. By ranking the transcriptions, specific versions of transcriptions will emerge as an authority for that manuscript. ” Unfortunately, a lot of the links on that site are broken and my attempt to register gave me an error. It is not clear to me that this project is actually still active.
- Soldier Studies is a website dedicated to posting transcriptions of civil war letters and diaries. This is not a tool for transcribing, but is clearly a repository targeting specifically transcriptions (see their Mission Statement for more information).
- Oh No Robot is a comics transcription and search tool. It provides a page to find comics needing transcription and a great page to explain how transcription works on their site.
After examining what was out there, Ben concluded that what he wanted didn’t exist – so he started to build it himself. He gave us a demo of his “very beta” software. His goal is to build a web based tool to support collaborative manuscript transcription and annotation by individuals without a strong technical background. In its current (and private beta) state the software supports transcription, an innovative approach to linking individual words or phrases to collection defined subjects and some basic community tools to let his virtual team discuss transcription issues. Ben is working hard on the software – if you are interested in his project, definitely get in touch with him. ...
A Beautiful WWW posted A Review of MemoryArchive.org. MemoryArchive, founded by historian Marshall Poe, is a new MediaWiki based website aimed at collecting first person accounts that they term ‘memoirs’. In sharp contrast with the communal authorship approach of most wikis, MemoryArchive locks down edits of each entry after a format review.
What sorts of memoirs are they looking for? In their FAQ they say they want “pretty much anything you remember that someone else might conceivably find interesting, now or in 500 years”. ...