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Category Archives: archives

crowdsourcing archival research

While I’ve heard of many crowdsourced archival transcription projects, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Children of the Lodz Ghetto: A Memorial Research Project is the first crowdsourced archival research project I’ve come across.

The Children of the Lodz Ghetto Project aims to find out what happened to over 13,000 students who signed the Lodz ghetto schools album in September 1941.  Volunteers pick a name, research the museum’s digital archives, and submit their findings.  The research results are then posted online after being reviewed by museum staff.

I think crowdsourcing archival research is awesome for many reasons.  First, crowdsourcing in general is a great way for archives to leverage the power of the public.  Another key result of projects like this is that it demonstrates what archival research is like, which can cause people to become more interested in archives as institutions.  Before I was interested in a career in libraries, I had no idea what archives were all about.  Had I known about archives back in college, I definitely would have dived into this field much earlier.  This project is a great way to introduce students to archival research.  A professor at George Washington University has heavily incorporated the Children of the Lodz Ghetto Project into her university writing class.  Archives should be more proactive in teaching students about archival research and not just wait for teachers and professors to use archives in their classes.

I hope to see more projects like this in the future.  If you know of any other projects that crowdsource archival research, please share in the comments!

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in archives, links

 

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spontaneous scholarships for #saa11 registration

I want to draw your attention to the Spontaneous Scholarships to fund registration for the 2011 SAA Annual Meeting, an effort led by Kate Theimer of ArchivesNext.  If you’re interested in receiving a scholarship or donating to the fund, check out the blog for details!  The deadline to request funding is midnight this Friday, July 8.  So far $800 has been raised!

What’s the reasoning behind the Spontaneous Scholarships?  While conferences provide great professional development opportunities, attending conferences is expensive.  The cost of registration, travel, and lodging is prohibitive, especially if you aren’t receiving any outside funding.  This is a great idea, and I hope to see more crowdsourced scholarships in the future!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in archives, conferences

 

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three fun (and free!) library/archives ipad apps

I’ve only had my iPad for a few months, but it’s interesting to see how I actually use it now versus how I thought I’d use it.  I definitely thought I would use a larger number (and variety) of apps than I actually do.  I blame this on lack of time due to grad school, but really it’s out of habit.  Just like when I go to my favorite restaurants, I can’t help but order the same few dishes — because I know what I like and I don’t want to “waste” my money on something that isn’t as good.  Or when a favorite band releases a new album — if it doesn’t capture me the first couple times I listen to it, chances are I’m going to choose the older tried-and-true albums over the new one every time (I’m talking about you, Iron and Wine).

But I’ve become more adventurous these days, so here are three very cool — and very free — iPad apps that I’ve been playing around with.  I can’t wait for more to come out!  Please share if you know of any other apps worth checking out.

Biblion: The Boundless Library
New York Public Library

Right now, the app is focused on the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, but I think future “issues” of Biblion will focus on a variety of other collections.

19th Century Historical Collection
British Library

Read (or skim) over 1,000 nineteenth-century books for free!  The book scans look great, and I foresee this app distracting me for many hours to come.  Later this summer, over 60,000 books will be made available for a not-yet-released price.

 

Today’s Document
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Also available on Android devices and iPhones, this app features a different archival document every day.  A few days ago, the featured document was the oath of allegiance signed by Marquis de Lafayette.  Later this week, it will be the Watergate building’s security officer log from June 17, 1972.

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in archives, photographs, pop culture

 

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#askarchivists day 2011

Not only is today International Archives Day, but it’s #AskArchivists Day on Twitter!

If you’re interested in what archivists do and what’s in their collections, just ask.  Archives and archivists from all over the world will be taking your questions.  Check out the Ask Archivists blog for a list of participating archives.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in archives

 

what’s missing from fashion archives? women of color

One of my favorite blogs out there right now is Of Another Fashion, brought to you by the bloggers of Threadbared.  Of Another Fashion posts vintage and archival photos of stylish women of color in the United States, creating a digital archive that provides a perspective largely missing from mainstream fashion archives and exhibits.  The photos posted are from archives, other online sources, and public submissions.

This blog is particularly inspirational to me for a few reasons.  Foremost, the blog’s purpose is to highlight and share photographs that have a rich yet overlooked history.  Most of the photos’ subjects aren’t of models, but your everyday average woman.  Another key element of the blog is that it actively seeks contributions from the public — not only to post but with the larger goal of creating an actual exhibit.  Many of the photos shared are from family albums, which I think adds a richer narrative to the fashion record.  In the creators’ own words:

In providing a glimpse of women of color’s material cultural histories — a glimpse that no doubt only begins to redress the curatorial and critical absence of minoritized fashion histories — this archive and the forthcoming exhibition commemorates lives and experiences too often considered not important enough to save or to study.

This idea links directly to Rand Jimerson’s point about the power of archives and archivists (which I’ve written about previously).  In determining which histories, experiences, and narratives are preserved in archival institutions (and the context given of those materials), we greatly influence the cultural record and memory.  Archivists have a responsibility to ensure diversity in the archival record, and Of Another Fashion is a great example to look towards.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in archives, diversity, links, photographs

 

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