There are a couple of projects out there that I wanted to point to everyone. First of all there is the Citizen Archivist Dashboard created by the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), David Ferriero. Second, there is the campaign/petition by Carl Malamud to start a nation effort to digitize all public government information. Both are noble projects and are worth a look, and your support.
The idea is simple — use the idea of crowdsourcing to improve the National Archives and use the efforts of “the crowd” to:
- transcribe records so that others can make use of documents
- tag information of photographs held in the archives
- upload your own personal collection of photographs that you want to contribute
- writing an article on research that you’ve worked on so that others can learn
Carl Malamud of Public Resources.Org and John Podesta of Center for American Progress are petitioning the Federal Government to start a Federal Scanning Commission, and have but a couple of weeks to gather 25,000 signatures. In their letter to President Obama, Malamud and Podesta list six questions that they would like a Federal Scanning Commission to answer:
- What are the holdings of our national institutions? How many images, documents, videos, and other objects are there?
- How long would it take to digitize these materials?
- How much would it cost given current technology? Is there directed research or are there economies of scale that would bring those costs down?
- What is the strategy for digital preservation of these materials? How will we avoid digital obsolescence?
- What is the strategy for identifying restrictions on use of the material? How does one identify and safeguard materials that have copyright restrictions, contain personally identifiable information, or contain classified materials?
- What are the economic and non-economic benefits of such an effort?
- What are the cost savings to government?
- What are the economic benefits? Would this effort enable industries that build on top of scientific and technical information, spur innovation in the legal marketplace, or enable our creative industries to create more effectively?
- What are the non-economic benefits? Will such an effort lead to better STEM and other educational efforts? Will it promote a more informed citizenry and better access to justice?
Go take a look at both of these efforts, and if they address a need you think needs to be address, then give your support to them.