Writing in the Library of Congress' Digital Preservation blog, Emily Reynolds described a recent talk by Kate Theimer of the popular blog ArchivesNext. Theimer is a prominent voice in the archival community, frequently writing and speaking about archival advocacy issues as well as the challenges and opportunities that technology and the Internet offer for cultural heritage institutions.
Theimer spoke on the subject of participatory archives, highlighting the ways that archives can use crowdsourcing projects to increase user engagement and understanding, while also enhancing the information and resources that they provide. The majority of well-known participatory archive projects allow users to add metadata to digital objects (in the form of tagging or transcription), and many successful examples of these projects have been undertaken by a wide range of institutions in recent years.
NOTE: For anyone not familiar with the term "crowdsourcing," the present creation of indexes for the 1940 U.S. Census and other large genealogy databases is a perfect example of crowdsourcing in action. Dictionary.com defines it as "crowdsourcing - to utilize (labor, information, etc.) contributed by the general public to (a project), often via the Internet and without compensation."
What other kinds of projects can encourage user engagement and participation in library and archive collections online?
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