With the ubiquity of the internet, crowdsourcing help, resources, and artifacts has been an effective way for libraries, museums, institutes, and independent projects to get assistance with some of their public history efforts. Over a few blog posts, we’ll highlight some of the interesting projects being crowdsourced via the internet. We hope these inspire you and your organization with some new ideas about to engage people in history.
If you know of any other interesting crowdsourced history projects, let us know by contacting our intern Stephanie Fulbright at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation War Diary
That British National Archives has over 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries from soldiers who fought on the Western Front during World War I. The diaries offer important insights into the conflict and the lives of those who participated in it. Together with the Imperial War Museum and Zooniverse, an online platform for managing crowdsourced projects, the National Archives are working with the public to make these diaries digitally accessible.
Label This: The Wine Label Transcription Project
The history of what we eat and drink can be just as significant as the history of nations and armies. The University Library at the University of California Davis is crowdsourcing a project on the history of wine. They are involving the public in an effort to mark, transcribe, and describe the wine labels in their collection of over 5,000 labels from across the world for a search database, which will be accessible to the public.
Libraries and museums can have extensive catalogs of artifacts which need to be digitized. The University of Iowa Libraries are facing this problem, and in response they have reached out to the public to get help cataloging their digital archives. This project spans their entire collection and includes a wide range of artifacts and subjects.
Fairbanks Museum Community of Observers
The Fairbanks Museum, in Vermont, has started the Community of Observers “to engage farmers and families, schools and senior living communities, novices and naturalists – anyone who is curious about tracking changes in the fields, forests and wetlands that define Vermont and northern New Hampshire. This growing community will become a hub for information and ideas about how our landscape is changing, providing data that can inform deeper discussions about the values and traditions we cherish” (from their website).
1947 Partition Archive
The 1947 Partition Archive brings together stories, artifacts, and oral histories from around the world to “document, preserv[e] and shar[e] eye witness accounts from all ethnic, religious and economic communities affected by the Partition of British India in 1947” (About Page). Starting in 20017, this international effort will focus on their third phase of their mission, which is make the digital archives available to educational purposes and bring knowledge about the Partition to the public consciousness.