Write history for the Library of Congress’ crowdsourcing project

If you have a fascination with history, then the Library of Congress has a job for you, well, it's a job that doesn't pay, but it's worth a few minutes (or hours) of your time.

The library is asking anyone with a computer and interest in historical documents to join a crowdsourcing project called By the People, in which volunteers will transcribe several thousand documents from the vaults of the library. According to the site, the purpose of the project is "to improve the search, readability and access to handwritten and written documents for those who do not have a complete vision or cannot read the writing of the original documents."

Online crowdsourcing is not new there have been academic projects such as SETI @ home (a radio telescope experiment that has been ongoing since 1999), government projects such as the National Archivist of the National Archives, and traffic reports from crowdsourcing to through applications like Waze.

volunteers interested in transcribing digitized images of personal letters, diaries, receipts, speeches and other documents from famous and not-so-famous people who were involved in a variety of historical movements, mainly from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Launched in the fall of 2018, By the People has organized its documents in several "campaigns", such as the Civil War, the abolitionist movement and the suffrage movement, to allow you to choose the topic that interests you most. You can make a transcript yourself, verify someone else's work or just read.


  By the people interface

The interface for the transcription process is well designed. The documents are presented in the left half, where you can enlarge and move them in your space to provide the best view, which is especially useful for tight writing that is often popular among 19th-century writers. The blank area on the right is where you write your transcript.

These documents offer a look at the important issues of the time and the small details of everyday life. You could find yourself transcribing a typed page of Mary Church Terrell, writer, speaker and twentieth-century African-American activist, in which she expertly destroys the arguments of a "Mr. Page" who had apparently written in defense of the lynchings that were so common in the After the civil post-war period, you could also try to decipher the handwritten diary of the Civil War nurse, Clara Barton, in which she describes her feelings about a new home and notes how much she paid for a local post office box. [19659008] If you just want to see some of the documents or even try to transcribe, it's easy to get started. All you have to do is go to the theme page For people and click on the "View projects" button of the campaign that interests you Each page of the campaign provides a background of the story you are about to find, how many taxpayers have already volunteered for that particular campaign r, and how many documents have been completed, need revision, are in progress or have not yet begun. There are many documents for everyone: at the time of writing, the campaign called "Suffrage: Women fight for the vote" had 48,380 documents in its crowdsourcing file, and 23,363 had not been claimed.

Below the statistics are rows of icons representing each set of documents, along with a brief explanation of who wrote them and a bar indicating how many have been completed. You can click on any set that interests you, choose a page and dive.

In summary, if you are interested in how political activists from a century ago fought, wrote and lived, then the People project can be a captivating rabbit hole to fall into.

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