Archives around the world are making their vast collections more widely accessible through digitization efforts, but to make those materials easier to discover and read, they often turn to volunteers for help. That's where you come in. If you're interested in making history more accessible to the general public and helping future researchers discover new information, here are a few places to start.
National Archives and Records Administration: Become a Citizen Archivist through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and help future researchers discover previously hidden resources. As a Citizen Archivist, you can contribute to the growing National Archives Catalog by tagging and transcribing records, making them more accessible and searchable in the process. Visit the Citizen Archivist Dashboard to register and get started. Feeling unsure about how to transcribe historical documents? The National Archives provides transcription tips to participants as well as how-to guides and video tutorials.
State Archives of North Carolina: The State Archives of North Carolina has an online crowdsourcing volunteer project called TranscribeNC. Anyone can sign up to help the State Archives improve access to North Carolina's history. As a virtual volunteer, you'd be able to choose and transcribe historical documents from a variety of digital collections. Once projects are completed, your transcripts are reviewed and added to the North Carolina Digital Collections. Create a FromThePage account to begin contributing and making North Carolina's history easier to access and read. After you sign up, visit TranscribeNC's transcription guide and handwriting guide as well as FromThePage's transcription tutorial video for more information.
Smithsonian Institution Archives: Visit the Smithsonian Transcription Center to become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer. According to their website, you'd be joining more than 69,600 "volunpeers" and you'd be contributing "to the total 1,086,459 pages of field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, biodiversity specimens labels, and historic audio recordings, that have been collaboratively transcribed and reviewed since June 2013." To get started, create an account and check out their tips section for helpful guides and other resources.
Staten Island Museum: The Staten Island Museum has been around since 1881 and they need assistance transcribing three projects: (1) Dickenson Census Indices: Occupations of Afro-American Families on Staten Island, 1840-1875, (2) Frederick Douglass Memorial Park Ledger Books, and (3) Frederick Douglass Memorial Park Permanent Record Books. Help the State Island Museum complete these projects and make these resources more widely accessible to the public by creating a FromThePage account and transcribing what you see on the page.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: If you're looking for other ways to contribute to North Carolina's history, we recommend browsing through UNC-Chapel Hill's projects on FromThePage. There are board of trustees documents, senate records, personal papers, and diaries that need transcribing, so don't hesitate to create an account and dive into this area of history.
Harvard Library: Colonial North America at Harvard Library is currently working on a multi-year digitization project that involves archival materials from 17th- and 18th-century North America. These records range from family papers and personal notebooks to maps and manuscripts. Help complete their projects and learn more about Colonial North America in the process.
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI): The Frederick Douglass Papers Project — maintained by IUPUI — collects speeches, letters, and other writings of Frederick Douglass. The Project is currently building a digital edition, and that's where you can step in to assist. There are several autobiographical writings, correspondence, and speeches to transcribe, so feel free to create an account and help the Project build its digital edition.