Archive for November, 2009
Question: We are considering starting an ongoing mini interview feature with selected NARA archivists. What questions should we ask them?
NARA is a big organization with knowledgeable and talented employees across many fields of expertise. As a part of their everyday jobs, our staff get to work with interesting and rare documents all the time! If you had the opportunity, what questions would you ask our archivists? Would it be about specific documents they work [...]
We’ve loved reading your suggestions and comments about sharing NARA’s holdings on Flickr, and it’s been interesting to see which images people are marking as favorites. All of this got us wondering about which records NARA insiders are particularly fond of, so we asked a few of our experienced colleagues for their picks. This week’s [...]
Last week John showed you an example of an unusual find in a pension record – a Fraktur which was used by a widow or other dependent to prove their relationship to a deceased soldier – and asked if anyone had found anything else unusual or revealing. Even more “typical” documents can reveal a lot of [...]
Question: We are planning to revamp our topical subject pages. What topics are missing or need more attention?
There’s no question- the National Archives holds a LOT of stuff. That breadth can be a challenge to explain to new researchers and casual website visitors, whose understanding of NARA collections may be as broad as “all the records made in the U.S.” or as dismissive as “boxes and boxes of boring government paperwork.” One [...]
Military pensions often contain valuable documents regarding family. Veterans who applied for such benefits often had to prove their military service, using affidavits from officers and fellow soldiers, or letters and journals written in the field. Widows and dependents had to prove their relationship to the deceased soldier. Many personal or family documents often, and [...]
This week’s highlighted question comes from Dan in NARA’s Motion Pictures (NWCS-M) department. The unit has been looking for some time at new models for delivery of NARA’s film, video and audio holdings as it struggles with keeping the aging analog reference collection alive and well. Given limited resources, the problem requires a multi-faceted solution, [...]
We’ve loved reading your suggestions and comments about sharing NARA’s holdings on Flickr, and it’s been interesting to see which images people are marking as favorites. All of this got us wondering about which records NARA insiders are particularly fond of, so we asked a few of our experienced colleagues for their picks. This second [...]
Do you know where your family was living in 1935? Did your grandfather work for the WPA or the CCC? The 1940 census may provide the answers to these questions and more. The 1940 census won’t be released until 2012, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready for it now. Check out our [...]
Yesterday we asked a question on the blog about transcribing NARA’s handwritten records. Thanks to those of you who commented for the ideas and examples! We love the idea of crowdsourcing and have been thinking about how we could make it work for NARA. Projects like the one that Craig mentioned at the Australian National [...]
Posted by Kristen (admin) on November 5, 2009, under Digitization, Miscellaneous, Online Research, Questions, Social Media (Web 2.0).
Question: What tools and processes do you suggest we use to transcribe NARA’s billions of pages of handwritten documents quickly and efficiently?
Transcribing billions of pages of handwritten documents is no easy task. Between the effects of time on paper and ink, the vagaries of individual handwriting, and history’s less-than-consistent spelling conventions, making sure historic records are intelligible (much less full-text searchable!) is easier said than done. What tools and processes do you suggest we use to [...]
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