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Tag: crowdsourcing

Come to the Archives Fair on April 3!

Archives Fair

Join us on Thursday, April 3,  from 9:30 to 4 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC for an all-day Archives Fair! Enter through the Special Events Entrance on 7th St. and Constitution Ave. The DC Caucus of MARAC and the National Archives Assembly are co-hosting this all-day Archives Fair. Archives-related groups and will be using the area outside the McGowan Theater as an exhibit hall.

You can watch our panel discussion online.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Coffee Hour & Exhibit Hall

9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and  Introduction by the Archivist of the United States

10:00-11:30  a.m. Panel Discussion: Crowdsourcing for Enhanced Archival Access

  • Elissa Frankle, moderator (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress)
  • Ching-Hsien Wang (Smithsonian)
  • Meredith Stewart (National Archives)

11:30-1 p.m. Lunch & Exhibit Hall

1-2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Monuments Men Archives

  • Barbara Aikens (Smithsonian)
  • Dr. Greg Bradsher (National Archives)
  • Maygene Daniels (National Gallery of Art Archives)

2:30-2:45  p.m.  Break and Exhibit Hall

2:45-3:15 p.m. National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC)

  • John Martinez (National Archives)
  • Jerry Simmons (National Archives)

3:15-3:45 p.m. Donations Partnership Database

  • Dawn Sherman-Falls (National Archives)
  • Meg Ryan Guthorn (National Archives)

3:45-4 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Exhibit Hall

 … [ Read all ]

Tag! You know something!

Sharks! ARC 535531

Last week on Facebook, I posted up a image that my colleague found for Shark Week. It wasn’t a biological shark, but a mechanical one. The caption provided some basic information: “A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, painted with the shark-face emblem of the ‘Flying Tigers,’ at a flying field somewhere in China. The American pursuit planes have a 12-to-1 victory ratio over the Japanese., ca. 1942.”

The comments in the post, however, provided far more information! Facebook users launched into a knowledgeable  discussion of dates, forces, and plane types.

But if anyone used our Online Public Access search engine (OPA) to search the online holdings of the National Archives using the words that came up in the discussion (“23rd Fighter Group” or “Kunming” or “Zhongzheng Type-24,”) this photograph would not appear. A possibly useful record would not make its way to a researcher.

This is why the Archivist has invited “citizens archivists” to join him in crowdsourcing our vast holdings by tagging images and photographs. Users who have knowledge about our holdings can assign tags that make records more findeable for fellow users.

Already, users have contributed hundred of tags. Are you interested in joining the fun? We’d like your help!  To learn more about the project, sign up, and start tagging, go here.

Interested in learning more about those strange shark … [ Read all ]

It’s a bird, it’s a beard, it’s Audubon!

John James Audubon, ca. 1860-1865. ARC 528730

If you are planning to attend our event next week on crowdsourcing, you will hear a presentation by Jessica Zelt from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Bird Phenology Program.

My colleague here in the office was editing the text for this event. She thought her husband, an avid bird watcher, might be interested in the “Bird Phrenology Program,” so she e-mailed him the description she was editing.

He e-mailed her back, saying “I think it’s phenology, not phrenology.”

Yes, phenology is the study of recurring life and plant cycles. Phrenology is the highly questionable Victorian practice of using the shape of skulls to intepret personality traits.

Editing for a living has many such dangerous pitfalls.

I like to look at this picture of John James Audubon, whose paintings made American birds into works of art, and imagine him feeling the skull of a woodpecker and then making pronouncements like “This bird suffers from melancholia, quickness of temper, and an overabundance of mirth.”

Perhaps there is a phrenology for beards that we could apply to Audubon?

Do the sideburns indicate standoffishness? Does the lack of mustache indicate a deficiency in calculation and therefore “an inability to understand the most simple numerical relations.” Perhaps his lack of chin covering betrays a lack of tunefulness?

In honor of crowdsourcing, I must pass on … [ Read all ]