Looking for history-related crowdsourcing projects for new site

I’m in the first stages of putting together a new site, helpinghistory.com, intended to help connect history lovers with online history-related projects in which they can participate. I’m currently looking for suggestions for projects to include on the site. Projects must have activities (such as transcribing, tagging, or adding comments) that take place entirely online. Project sites must also be available in English, although translation projects are welcome. I would prefer projects that do not draw upon specific local knowledge (such as identifying local residents), but rather ones in which people from anywhere in the world might be able to help.

I have already populated the site with many of the most prominent crowdsourcing projects, but I’m sure there are many great opportunities that should be included. If you know of one, please let me know and I’ll add it. The site is still under development, so the design is still in flux. I am hoping to give it a more formal launch in 2015.

The Future of Archives is Participatory: Archives as Platform, or A New Mission for Archives

This is the talk I gave this morning—by phone rather than in person because of the Lufthansa pilots’ strike—at the Offene Archive 2.1 conference in Stuttgart. It’s also similar to the talk I gave in Oslo a few weeks ago at the #arkividag conference. While I also made a recording of it as a backup, since I have it all more or less written out I thought I would post it here too. (I’ve inserted a few images from my presentation but not all the transitional slides or ones that are just repeating things in the text or showing screenshots.) There are some interesting ideas in it, I think, and I’m sure some readers will have comments and additional food for thought. Please remember, it’s a talk, not a journal article. The intent is to give people some big ideas to think about. So I might as well do that here on the blog as well!

UPDATE: If you’d prefer to listen rather than read, the recording I made of me reading the talk over the slides is now available at http://archive20.hypotheses.org/1551. I was reading very slowly and carefully, so I think I sound a bit like a robot, but it’s available if you’d rather listen and see all the slides as they were presented.


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Continue reading “The Future of Archives is Participatory: Archives as Platform, or A New Mission for Archives”

Examples of collecting event or topic-based social media material?

I just asked this on Twitter, and suggestions are coming in fast, so I’ll use this post as a way of documenting them and re-posting the question. I’m looking for examples of repositories actively collecting social media material (that is, things posted on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) regarding a specific event or topic. I’m also interested in following up to learn whether or not the repository asked permission from those who create the material or not. In some cases it appears that people were asked to contribute (as in the UVa site) but in most others it looks like the creators were not contacted.

This is what people have suggested so far–I haven’t look yet at the content of all of these to see if are what I’m looking for, but they’re all interesting. It would also be interesting to learn to what degree these collections have been “accessioned” into the repository’s holdings and what plans are for long-term preservation, etc. Or are these just online platforms for access (as The Texas Collection by Baylor University on Storify seems to be).

National Library of Ireland, collections documenting the 2011 general and presidential elections 

University of Virginia, materials relating to the resignation and reinstatement of President Teresa Sullivan 

The Tamiment Library, Sites with the topic “Occupy Wall Street”  (“No advanced permission, but we honor robots txt exclusions and have a take down policy.”

Queens College’s Archiving Occupy Project collected “digital traces” with the permission of the creators (see their Collection Development policy in the About section).

Syracuse University, Boston Marathon Tweets (not clear if those are actually part of an accessioned collection or not)

Our Marathon, Northeastern University (not sure if it has social media, not to check)

@MuseumofLondon captured tweets around the Olympics #citizencurators–Life in London during the Games 

UK Web archives captures blogs and websites around events (presumably also including some blogs)

Arab American National Museum, many collections on Archive-It, but see for example Arab America on Social Media

Bentley collected #bbum tweets related to the Being Black at University of Michigan campaign (no link yet, still ongoing)

Minnesota 2.0, a student project with an interesting model, and regarding permissions: “each image in this archive has been “scrubbed” of directly identifying information: last names and personal photos have been blurred.”





Joint project with HistoryPin: “Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild”

SAA wants to get the word out about this great project, and I’m happy to help. Please pass along to anyone and everyone who might want to participate:

Today a collaborative history project to document the impact of Hurricane Sandy on communities and neighborhoods in the Caribbean and United States was launched by Historypin, with support from Google, the Society of American Archivists, the American Association for State and Local History, and the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

Historypin is a non-profit public history project that brings people together to explore and share history through photographs, stories, and audio and video recordings.  Anyone can upload content to the Historypin map, pin it to the location and date on which it was taken, and overlay it on Street View to create a world map that can be explored through time.

According to Jon Voss, Historypin Strategic Partnerships Director, “At Historypin, where we seek to build community around local history, we hope to contribute in some small way to Hurricane Sandy recovery by providing a place online to share photos and recollections of how things were before, during, and after the storm.  We know that archives, libraries, and museums play a critical role in preserving cultural and community memory, and we’re delighted that SAA is joining us in this effort.”  Read Voss’s blog post here.

Historypin invites individuals, communities, and local archives to share photographs, videos, and memories, with the goal of creating a rich record of life in communities and neighborhoods affected by the storm, a space to share memories, and a place to chronicle the re-building efforts.  View Historypin’s “Getting Started Guide” and YouTube video.

“We’re especially delighted to be working with Historypin, Google, and others to document the impact of Hurricane Sandy,” said SAA President Jackie Dooley.  “This collaboration matches Historypin’s unique capacity to build community around local history with archivists’ compelling interest in ensuring the completeness, diversity, and accessibility of the historical record.  Good things will result from working together!”

If you have material relating to Hurricane Sandy or historical photographs of neighborhoods damaged by the storm, please consider contributing content to this project.  Contact Rebekkah Abraham, Historypin Content Manager, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org.


Two Kickstarter projects to look at

If you have a few dollars left over after you have made your donation to the Spontaneous Scholarships fund, please consider contributing to one of these interesting Kickstarter projects:

2nd Scene Culture City Project 

 2nd Scene Culture City Project is an initiative to collect the history of the Chicago hip hop scene from inception until the present day. The mission of the project is to ensure the inclusion of Chicago in the historical conversation about hip hop and the rich music history of the city. This is an oral history, serial documentary and digital archive project.  The oral history will be collected via video interviews and then made available on the archive in interview form.  There will also be a documentary for each era that will act as an overview for the uninitiated.

We will also be collecting primary/original source documents like handwritten lyrics, party pluggers, photos, old video, tickets, cassette tapes and the like. These items will be identified, photographed or scanned, cross referenced and then returned to the original owners.

All of this information will be available online in the form of a digital archive.  The archive will be accessible to students, lovers of music, researchers and of course the hip hop community.

The archive will also be self sustaining, thus allowing for scalability and maintenance way into the future.  The idea is for the history to live way beyond us, as such the project is also developing a non profit to be the managing entity of the archive.

The project is seeking participants in the local scene to be interviewed.  Participants in every sense of the word: club goers, promoters, graf writers, djs, bboys, emcees and activists.

First round interviews will not begin until July and will likely run until February 2013.  Fill-in/Second round videos will likely start in April  2013 and end in June 2013. Since the history is very rich we are starting with 1970, 1980 and 1990 eras first.  We hope to have a completed 1990 era series and archive up and online by August of 2014.  We have opted to start with this era first because we anticipate research being more difficult for the 1970’s and 1980’s eras and will use this time to concurrently begin and complete research and development on those eras in order to create the next series. It is then that we will shift to the current era for archival interviews.

Saving Montana History

This project aims at fund production of a series of documentary vignettes featuring collections from across Montana. The vignettes will be published in both online venues and in community formats with the hope that they will inspire Montanans and American history fans alike to help “Save Montana History.”

How You Can Help Launch a Digital Preservation Q&A Site

I’ve been asked to pass along this information to help get more archivists involved in this effort to launch a digital preservation Q&A site.

If you want to learn more, please read this informative blog post from Trevor Owens:

The proposal itself is here:

It’s a great idea, so I hope if you have what they are looking for that you’ll participate and help get this off the ground.

Links from MAC talk on participatory archives

If you were among the lucky (?) people in the audience today, here, as promised, are the links to the sites I mentioned in my talk. If you are one of the millions of people who were not there, these are the sites I mentioned as examples of participatory archives. I know there are a great many others, so I apologize if  I left out one of your favorites. I’m happy that there is an overabundance of riches when it comes to choosing examples on this topic. (At least examples that meet the criteria I use.) I’ll probably be posting my slides to SlideShare soon, or I may post them here on the blog so I can add the explanatory text that would help make some of them comprehensible. (Here’s a post about the talk I gave on this topic at the 2011 SAA Annual Meeting.)

Here are the links: Continue reading “Links from MAC talk on participatory archives”

My Version of Trendswatch 2012: The Archives Edition

I just quickly looked over the inaugural issue of Trendswatch, a new annual report from the American Association of Museums’s Center for the Future of Museums.

The inaugural issue of TrendsWatch—TrendsWatch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future—highlights seven trends that CFM’s staff and advisors believe are highly significant to museums and their communities, based on scanning and analysis over the past year:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Threats to Nonprofit Status
  • Mobile, distributive experiences
  • New forms of funding
  • Creative Aging
  • Augmented reality
  • Shifts in Education

For each trend, the report provides a summary, examples of how the trend is playing out in the world, comments on the trend’s significance to society and to museums, dozens of links to relevant news and research and suggestions for ways that museums might respond.

Download a copy of the report here

Needless to say the report is worth reading. But naturally my mind jumped immediately to what kind of list an equivalent group would makes for archives. I think the results would be somewhat different, don’t you? Since I don’t have the resources to assemble such a panel of experts, I just came up with a list of my own:   Continue reading “My Version of Trendswatch 2012: The Archives Edition”

Archives and history on Kickstarter

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. This is the first in (I hope) a regular series of posts highlighting projects on Kickstarter that relate to archives and history. Here’s a short list of what’s available for you to help fund today:

And if you’re skeptical that Kickstarter really works for organizations like archives, read about the successful proposal by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to raise funds to preserve “key artifact from a defining moment in popular music . . . a historic sign from Max Yasgur’s farm, the site of the groundbreaking Woodstock festival.” The Museum raised over $12,000 on Kickstarter

If you know of any other relevant projects on Kickstarter, please let me know and I hope I’ll be able to make this a regular feature of the blog.

And although this post was inspired by looking for projects to take screen caps of for a presentation next week at SAA, it’s possible I was also given a bit of a nudge by Trevor Owens’ excellent post, The Digital Humanities Are Already on Kickstarter.

19 people funded so far, more to come

Wow. As of Sunday morning, when names were drawn from the hat, we had raised $3,625. From that 6 people needing full member registration and 13 student registrants were selected to have their registration fees paid for the 2011 SAA Annual Meeting. Which is pretty incredible for an effort that started less than two weeks ago, and at first was just trying to raise money for one person.

And it’s not over. I know some checks are still coming in the mail, the PayPal donate button is still there and we’ve had one extremely generous donor tell me he/she is posting another check this morning (and we’ve had two PayPayl donations this morning).  So some of the 24 people still on the waiting list are also going to be funded. I should be pulling happy quotes from the recipients to add to this post to encourage you to keep donating and to share their appreciation with those who’ve given, but I’ve got to go figure out how many people I get to contact today with good news. Not a bad way to start a Monday morning, is it?