Medium 9781442276147

Collections Vol 12 N2

By:
Views: 1931
Ratings: (0)

List price: $23.00

Remix
Remove
Annual Subscriptions (4/year) Subscribe Discounts for Institutions
 

12 Articles

Format Buy Remix

The Creation and Evolution of the Transcription Center, Smithsonian Institution’s Digital Volunteer Platform

ePub

The Creation and Evolution of the Transcription Center, Smithsonian Institution’s Digital Volunteer PlatformAndrew GuntherLead Application Developer, Enterprise Digital Asset Network, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Smithsonian Institution, gunthera@si.eduMichael SchallSenior Consultant, Quotient, Inc.Contractor for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Smithsonian Institution, mschall@quotient-inc.comChing-hsien WangBranch Manager, Library and Archives Systems Support Branch, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Smithsonian Institution, Transcription Center Project Manager, WangCH@si.edu
Abstract
This article discusses the technical design considerations in creating and evolving a digital volunteer platform for transcribing historic documents and collection records. We outline the thought process of our technical team in attempting to architect and build a system that could achieve a mission of collecting knowledge to promote discovery as well as a platform that was extensible, versatile, able to be integrated, and adaptable to future needs. A unique and unexpected aspect of our project is that the digital volunteers not only contributed data but also shaped (and continue to shape) the technical product, user interface, and user experience.

See All Chapters

Inviting Engagement, Supporting Success

ePub

Inviting Engagement, Supporting SuccessHow to Manage a Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterProject Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center, ferriterm@si.eduAbstract This article lists and examines the practical considerations and proven approaches for managing a participatory project focusing on transcription of digitized materials and engagement with the public. Using the Smithsonian Transcription Center as a case study, this article offers tested techniques to prepare for transcription, training and resources, appealing to volunteers with specific communication tactics, and tracking challenges. In addition, this article addresses the ways in which volunteers serve important roles as peers in this crowdsourcing effort and thus serve as “volunpeers” or volunteers/peers where communication between all participants is grounded in trust and collaboration. Throughout the article, where possible, suggestions for scaling based on resources, materials, objectives, and time scales are included.

See All Chapters

Great Expectations

ePub

Great ExpectationsMeeting the Needs of Online Audiences at the Archives Center of the National Museum of American HistoryJoe HurseyArchivist, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, hurseyw@si.eduRobert HortonChair, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, hortonr@si.eduAbstract The Archives Center of the National Museum of American History collects, preserves, and provides access to archival documents that support the museum’s mission, exhibitions, research, and collecting programs. The Archives Center holds more than 1,350 collections that document the history of technology, innovation, business, consumer culture, American music, and popular culture as well as many other topics. In addition, it supports the Smithsonian’s digital initiatives by digitizing collections and making them available online, which in many ways is a challenge. This article outlines the Archives Center’s involvement with the Smithsonian Transcription Center, the creation and evaluation of a pilot project, and the construction of an effective digital workflow.

See All Chapters

Showcasing Collections from a Community Museum

ePub

Showcasing Collections from a Community Museum

Jennifer Morris

Archivist, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, morrisj@si.edu

Abstract Crowdsourcing cultural heritage materials presents opportunities and challenges for archives and museums. Successful engagement with collections through crowdsourcing initiatives requires mindful planning and careful selection of materials. This article presents the Anacostia Community Museum’s experience with the Smithsonian TC and details the museum’s efforts to gather and highlight additional data pertaining to its collection. After providing a brief history of the museum, the article describes the processes undertaken by the collections and curatorial staff for selecting projects, which were informed by exhibitions, reference services, and the museum’s mission. Next, the workflow and challenges faced by the museum are discussed before turning to recommendations for improvement.

In recent years, museums, archives, historic societies, and other repositories of cultural heritage began using their digitized collections to engage with the general public, special interest groups, and their core constituencies by means of crowdsourcing. Regardless of the methods employed by organizations—such as transcription, tagging, indexing, or identifying content—crowdsourcing initiatives present “a powerful platform for audience interaction with museums, offering truly deep and valuable engagement with cultural heritage” (Ridge 2013, 446). These projects offer opportunities for cultural heritage institutions to tackle backlogs, provide access to minimally processed collections, and increase discoverability of unique and rare resources (Zastrow 2014, 21). Some challenges for repositories considering crowdsourcing include implementing and maintaining a functional technological infrastructure, management of digital volunteers, and assuring the quality of the data being generated (Zastrow 2014, 23). Additionally, repositories may have a mismatch between the human capital, on the part of staff, to sustain a crowdsourcing initiative and how to meet institutional goals. The Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) considered these issues before deciding to become a participating unit in the Smithsonian Transcription Center (TC).

See All Chapters

Pen to Paper to Pixel

ePub

Pen to Paper to Pixel

Transcribing Handwritten Letters and Diaries from the Archives of American Art

Mary Savig

Curator of Manuscripts, Archives of American Art, savigm@si.edu

Abstract The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art holds in its collections millions of handwritten documents. Curatorial projects bring focus to the personal and historically significant qualities of these resources. This article provides an overview of two recent projects organized by the Archives of American Art: the publication Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016) and the 2014–2015 exhibition A Day in the Life: Artists’ Diaries from the Archives of American Art. With the Transcription Center as an entry point, the Archives expanded its presentations of primary sources to online audiences. The article discusses the primary goals of our transcription projects, specifically, enhanced interaction between people and our collections. The article also considers strategies of online communication and analysis of the projects’ outcomes.

See All Chapters

Establishing Workflows and Opening Access to Data within Natural History Collections

ePub

Establishing Workflows and Opening Access to Data within Natural History CollectionsSylvia OrliIT Manager, Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, orlis@si.eduJessica BirdData Manager, Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, birdj@si.eduAbstract The Smithsonian Transcription Center (TC) is a transcription platform for a wide variety of collection items for the Smithsonian museums and units. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) collection items present a unique challenge for the TC, as the labels on these items contain a variety of information, requiring a complex transcription template. In addition, the transcribed collection data must be imported back to the NMNH database (EMu Museum Management System) with prescribed formatting. The Departments of Botany and Entomology at NMNH have worked with the TC through these challenges to create a workflow that addresses these issues while providing high-quality data at a rapid rate. Suggestions for further improvement are examined as well.

See All Chapters

Planning and Storytelling with Collections

ePub

Planning and Storytelling with Collections

Establishing the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Transcription Center Presence

Courtney Bellizzi

Museum Specialist, National Museum of African American History and Culture, bellizzic@si.edu

Abstract The newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), is set to open in the fall of 2016. Since its establishment in 2003, the museum has built a collection to help tell the story of the African American experience and how it shaped—and continues to shape—both America and the world. One of the ways that we hope to share our collections prior to the museum’s opening is through the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center (TC). The TC allows virtual visitors to explore and interact with Smithsonian materials in a personal way. In order to make this possible, NMAAHC developed a plan to highlight collections based around the themes of the museum’s inaugural exhibits, unexplored collections, and research interests. This article examines how collections are picked for the TC, the establishment and evolution of in-house workflows to sustain the work, and collaboration with curators, researchers, education, and social media staff to enhance the public’s online experience.

See All Chapters

Engineering a Digitization Workflow to Accommodate Crowdsourcing

ePub

Engineering a Digitization Workflow to Accommodate Crowdsourcing

Riccardo Ferrante

Smithsonian Institution Archives, ferranter@si.edu

Abstract Utilizing crowdsourcing to make an organization’s cultural heritage material more accessible can be a cumbersome and resource-intensive process. Without a digitization workflow designed to facilitate the use of image sets in multiple ways on a variety of platforms, large-scale crowdsourcing would be out of reach for the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA). However, such a workflow can also be a natural extension of regular operations. SIA’s incorporation of crowdsourcing preparation into its normal digital preservation and access operations demonstrates how an organization can achieve higher levels of audience engagement and acquire high-quality enriched data while avoiding heavy impacts to existing staff resources. This brief article outlines digitization workflows, material selection, and the underpinning principles and practices that the SIA employs and offers these as one possibility for organizations to consider before embarking on such a project.

See All Chapters

Making History with Crowdsourcing

ePub

Making History with CrowdsourcingEffie KapsalisHead of Web, New Media, and Outreach, Smithsonian Institution Archives, kapsalise@si.eduAbstract With limited staff resources, the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) in the early 2000s embarked on a new process to reveal the stories, people, and places embedded in their collections that document the history of the Smithsonian. This article looks at the earliest initiatives of publishing item-level digital collections that set the stage for hidden stories to rise to the surface through the public’s engagement with materials in the Transcription Center. Such forms of engagement have included transcribing the SIA field books, following the SIA on various social media channels, and demonstrating interest in the “Women in Science Wednesday” campaign—all of which have enabled us to carry our message to new audiences and to enrich the information we had about our collections, something that would not have been possible with the SIA’s small staff.

See All Chapters

More Than Merely Transcription

ePub

More Than Merely TranscriptionAn Analysis of Metatasks and Twitter ChatChristine RosenfeldPh.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at George Mason University, crosenfe@gmu.eduAbstract This article seeks to understand the practices that digital volunteers of the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center (TC) engage in aside from transcribing. A thematic analysis of the Twitter feed @TranscribeSI demonstrates that volunteers are doing much more than just transcribing; they are additionally engaging in critical archival practices regarding reflexivity and filling in gaps in the historical record. Museums that hope to foster deep engagement among volunteers and to create a sustained community of virtual museumgoers may wish to model their digital initiatives on those of the TC. Doing so will ensure that museums move beyond mere data extraction toward building complex relationships with audiences through online initiatives. As a result of Web 2.0 technologies, museums in the 21st century are undergoing a transformation in the way that they produce and disseminate knowledge. Mancini and Carreras (2010) write that “new [museum] users do not only consume, they also want to be involved and to model their environment, creating social and cultural values for themselves and rejecting hierarchical structures” (60), which requires museums to decide whether to integrate user-generated knowledge into their archive, mission, structure, and workflow. For the purposes of this article, Web 2.0 refers to “the practice of getting users to add value to a website by having them build its content, thus accelerating the cycle of media production so that sites become dynamic, constantly updated sources of new material” (Gehl 2014, 47). Web 2.0 has exerted pressure on museums of the 21st century to switch from being institutions of memory to dynamic social spaces (Kelly 2010; Mancini and Carreras 2010). The Smithsonian Institution (SI) is beginning to embody the dynamic social space that characterizes contemporary museums (Kalfatovic et al. 2008). This movement is demonstrated by the Transcription Center (TC), an online digital space where volunteers transcribe and review other volunteers’ transcriptions of historical materials.

See All Chapters

We Learn Together

ePub

We Learn TogetherCrowdsourcing as Practice and Method in the Smithsonian Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterProject Coordinator of the Transcription Center at the Smithsonian Institution, ferriterm@si.eduChristine RosenfeldPh.D. candidate in Cultural Studies at George Mason University, crosenfe@gmu.eduDana BoomerIndependent Researcher, dana_boomer@yahoo.comCarla BurgessIndependent Researcher, Pittsboro, North Carolina, thecarlaburgess@gmail.comSiobhan LeachmanIndependent Researcher, Wellington, New Zealand, Siobhan_leachman@yahoo.co.nzVictoria LeachmanIndependent Scholar, Wellington, New Zealand, victoria.leachman@gmail.comHeidi MosesIndependent Scholar, Sydney, Nova Scotia, hmmoses@gmail.comFelicia PickeringResearch Collaborator (retired Ethnology Museum Specialist), Department of Anthropology, NMNH, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, pickerif@si.eduMegan E. Shuler

See All Chapters

Afterword

ePub

AfterwordExploring the Smithsonian Institution Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterChristine RosenfeldWe hope that the articles in this focus issue of the journal Collections: A Journal for Museum & Archives Professionals have given readers firsthand perspectives on a range of strategies employed, experiences fulfilled, and opportunities seized by all authors and their collaborators at the Smithsonian Institution and beyond in creating the robust crowdsourcing project known as the Transcription Center (TC). It is clear that planning and experimenting have prepared units, representatives, and volunteers alike to benefit from serendipitous moments of discovery. In case it was minimized, we would also like to emphasize the gratitude that unit representatives, the project coordinator, and the development team have for the seemingly endless enthusiasm, curiosity, and generosity of volunteers.The Smithsonian Institution mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” binds together a cluster of goals, strategies, objectives, and everyday tactics. The Smithsonian’s mission can guide the work of staff, supported with the values of discovery, excellence, diversity, integrity, and service. However, what else is necessary to carry out that mission in the 21st century? Creativity. Collaboration. Breaking out and improving workflows. Learning from one another in the process. With the work to create and sustain the TC and the activity of volunteers in the TC, this crowdsourcing project is actively carrying out the vision of the Smithsonian Institution in “shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world” (http://www.si.edu/About/Mission).

See All Chapters

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Articles

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000179852
Isbn
9781442276147
File size
5.99 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata