The Library of Congress is the oldest cultural institution in the country, housing more than 168 million items in its vast collection (including more than 39 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages).
By its own estimates, the Library receives more than 15,000 items each business day, adding some 10,000 items to its collection. Simultaneously, it hosts an active schedule of lectures, exhibits, concerts, classes—but with only 3,100 permanent staff, how does the Library do it all?
On the digital side, help comes from everyday folks who serve as virtual volunteers in the Library’s public crowdsourcing initiative, By the People. From letters to Abraham Lincoln to scouting reports of baseball legend Branch Rickey, volunteers collectively have transcribed over 17,000 pages of content over the past eight months, and there’s much more to do.
In this webinar, Lauren Algee, senior innovation specialist for Library of Congress Labs, highlights how By the People invites the general public to transcribe, review, and tag digitized historical texts from the Library’s collection—improving the accessibility, search, and legibility of historical documents, and opening the texts to computational analysis.
More About the Series
This is the fifth episode in the Federal Crowdsourcing Webinar Series, which airs the second Tuesday of each month. With each installment, we illuminate how U.S. agencies are reaching beyond their walls to source talent and enthusiasm, and can multiply the ideas and perspectives being brought to a particular issue.
And don’t miss these previous episodes:
- Episode 4: Open Opportunities (July 2019), with Lisa Nelson, USAJOBS, OPM
- Episode 3: The Opportunity Project (June 2019), with Drew Zachary and Lorena Molina-Irizarry, U.S. Census Bureau
- Episode 2: Challenges and Prize Competitions (May 2019), with Jarah Meador, GSA, and Jessie Buerlein, HHS
- Episode 1: Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (April 2019), with John McLaughlin, NOAA, and Sophia B. Liu, USGS
This talk is hosted by Challenge.gov. Managed by GSA, Challenge.gov serves as both the official listing of prize competitions across government, as well as a centralized platform for federal agencies to market their problem-solving events. The program also designs resources and training, which have helped more than 100 federal agencies run over 900 prize competitions with public participation since 2010.
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