Last week I wrote a bit about the digitisation of historical documents and how the addition of indexes, transcriptions, and metadata can turn a pile of images into a findable, searchable, valuable resource. This week I’d like to write a bit about one of the methods organisations are employing to sort through digitised documents and add this vital information: crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing history allows organisations to tap into a worldwide base of potential volunteers with interests in family history, military history, and so on. Continue reading
It seems as if every day there are more and more historical sources available online. While it’s hard to replicate a day in the archives, online repositories are allowing for fast, efficient searching and discovering of valuable historical sources. I love that this is happening, particularly in databases and collections that are made freely available to the public (such as Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database and the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership project) rather than hidden within pay-per-view websites. Continue reading
We all benefit from the efforts of libraries, archives, museum, and government bodies to organise, catalogue, and digitise documents and collections, but it can be very hard to keep up with what’s online! A collection you searched for which you were disappointed to find as only available on microform through inter-library loan only a few months ago might now be accessible from your living room. In this era of digitisation, what’s the best way to keep on top of what sources are coming online?
Following the blogs of libraries and archives that hold the types of material and specific collections you are typically interested in, especially those with government funding who are more likely to be able to devote people, money, and resources necessary to digitise and host online collections, is a great way to start.
For example, while I was conducting some genealogical research, I found evidence that a land petition of my 6x great-grandfather, a United Empire Loyalist, was in the Haldimand Papers. I prefer working with full-text primary sources rather than printed summaries or indexes, but the original papers were in the British Library and microfilm copies were available in Canada but nowhere near where I was living. I took note of how to find them and stored that away for another day. A few months later Library and Archives Canada blogged about their latest digitisation efforts and amazingly the Haldimand Papers was on the list! And that’s when I realised that these blogs can valuable tools for furthering one’s research.
It seems that most university libraries nowadays have one or more blogs, so why not Google your favourite library + blog and see what’s on offer. To get you started, here’s a list of some great blogs from libraries and archives that reflect upon the digitisation of resources and material of interest to historians of British and Irish global history. Feel free to let us know your favourites in the comments below!