Crowdsourcing projects, when done well, can raise awareness of a repository and their collections, give users a chance to learn about and participate in archival activities, and help repositories complete major transcription, tagging, and editing projects. DIY History is one of those projects.
DIY History expands on an earlier transcription effort at the University of Iowa Libraries, the Civil War Diaries & Letters transcription project. The site allows volunteers to transcribe Civil War documents, cookbooks, diaries, and materials from manuscript collections. Volunteers can also tag historic photographs and yearbooks from the University of Iowa’s collection on Flickr. The project’s goal, according to the about page, is “to make historic artifacts more accessible – both by enhancing catalog records for greater ease in searching and browsing, and by engaging the public to interact with the materials in new ways.”
The site opened October 1st, and so far it seems like a great success. The website is attractive and easy to navigate, and there are a wide range of materials users can interact with. The addition of a tagging feature opens this project up to a wider audience. There’s also a “Correct” activity coming soon, which looks like the option to edit typewritten pages previously scanned with OCR.