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 planes? Here’s a … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 8, 2011, under - World War II, Social Media Guides.
Tags: 23rd Fighter Group, American Volunteer Group, china, crowdsourcing, Kunming, Online Public Access, OPA, P-40 fighter planes, shark, Zhongzheng Type-24
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.”
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 these deep questions to you, my phrenological … [ Read all ]