Museums, libraries, and other institutions with archival materials are increasingly digitizing their collections to improve access to those collections. When institutions digitize, they allow people from all over the world to view and research their collections, instead of serving only the people who can physically visit the institutions. Crowdsourced volunteers can further improve accessibility by creating or improving transcriptions and other metadata associated with these digitized materials. This work improves access by making the items more searchable. Volunteering in digital crowdsourcing projects can also be a great opportunity to learn about a topic through primary sources.
When students volunteer in digital crowdsourcing efforts, they can engage with primary sources that deepen their understanding of history, as well as other topics that may relate to those primary sources. Transcription not only gives students the opportunity to engage with primary sources, but also allows them to contribute to those materials’ records for the benefit of other researchers. Transcription may therefore help students foster a deeper connection with the scholarly community, making them feel more empowered in their ability to contribute to scholarly knowledge.
We welcome members of the Shenandoah University community to contribute to digital crowdsourcing projects. For the projects described in this guide, anyone with an internet connection and a computer should be able to register, and no prior experience with digital crowdsourcing is necessary, as well. Of the projects described in this guide, a prospective volunteer often has to provide only their name, an email address, a created username, and a created password.
If you have any further questions about volunteering in digital crowdsourcing projects, contact Aimee Gee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital crowdsourcing projects can be a great opportunity for students to complete required service hours. Introducing student organization members to one or more such projects can simplify the logistics of fulfilling service hour requirements. When students can take part in online, ongoing projects for service hours, they don’t have to rely completely on individual service project events. For these ongoing projects, instead of having to resolve logistics relating to transportation and scheduling, students can simply transcribe whenever they have internet service and a computer to use.