Citizen Archivist Dashboard

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


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As we add tags or transcriptions to records - all of those words are added to our catalog and it helps improve search results. The added benefit is that we’re unlocking the sometimes difficult to read text for all to understand. By adding this metadata to our Catalog, it also becomes searchable in Google or other search engines, which helps to make our records more discoverable online. We like to say that as we tag and transcribe, we are unlocking history.

Missions are groups of records that are related to a particular subject. These missions are often curated to coincide with timely events. You can click on a topic that interests you, and it will bring you right to those records in our catalog where you can start transcribing or tagging. The tagging and transcription missions are refreshed with new records all the time and new missions are added often. Check back often to see what’s new.

Missions are suggestions of records for you to work on.  You can always search our catalog for records to tag, transcribe and add comments.

Featured Records are single records that need to be transcribed.  Records in this list are replaced soon after they are completed and this list allows us to highlight individual records that may not fit into a larger transcription mission.

The quickest way to tell if a record has been transcribed or tagged  is to open up the individual record and look at the thumbnail pages beneath the viewer. If you see a blue tag on the thumbnail image, that means there is a contribution on that page. If the record has multiple pages, each page with a contribution will have a blue tag. But just because a page has a blue tag does not mean the transcription is complete. You can always open up the page to see if the transcription is complete or needs revision. Additionally, if you skip the the middle or the end of a list of records in a mission, often they have not yet been transcribed or tagged.

You can delete any tags you’ve contributed.  Your tags appear in blue with a red X in a circle.  Simply click on the red X to remove any tags.  If you encounter a tag written by someone else that violates our Citizen Contribution Policy please contact us at catalog@nara.gov

The comment field is a free text box where we invite you to share your knowledge about the records, tell other users about related records, or share what you might expect to find in a particular item, file unit, or series.

While we review contributions and regularly respond to comments and questions, you will not receive a notification of a reply to your comment. If you would like to receive a response or have a question about the Catalog, please email us at catalog@nara.gov

We do not make assignments or have deadlines.  You simply sign in to your account in the catalog and tag, transcribe or make comments on the records.  Do as little or as much as you want.  Everything helps us.

Once you click save, your work is done! Your transcription has been added to our catalog and shortly all the words you typed will be searched every time someone conducts a search at catalog.archives.gov.  We suggest saving your work at regular intervals when transcribing. 

Every transcription program is run a little differently.  Our program was developed around our catalog that already had millions of digitized records.  We use more of a Wikipedia model for contributions and editing.  Anyone who is logged in can transcribe and edit an other transcriber's work.  The National Archives does not review these citizen contributed transcriptions or consider them closed to further editing.  We think it is a bonus when additional eyes review a transcription.  They may add small details or fix the format, please do not be concerned about these edits - everything helps us.  You should feel free to review and edit someone's work as well. If you encounter anything that violates our Citizen Contribution Policy please contact us at catalog@nara.gov.

We do not track the number of hours a Citizen Archivist participates and we can not create a report to document volunteer hours. Registered users can view a list of records they tagged or transcribed in the My Accounts page.  

 

Have a question that isn't answered here? Contact us at citizenarchivist@nara.gov 

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