Off Topic: Bird Transcriptions: Combining Undergrad Nerdiness w/ Librarian Nerdiness
Via a colleague’s Facebook post, I was alerted to this post from the National Archives on Cultivating Citizen Archivists. It talks about distributed, participatory methods of working with data, such as a project to let people mark craters on Mars images.
The post also mentioned the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) North American Bird Phenology Program, in which people can log on to transcribe handwritten data from cards noting what birds where seen where and when from 1880-1970 into a database where it can be more readily searched and used. Some of you know, my undergrad degree was in geology (although I wasn’t exactly the world’s best geology student), and I did some water quality projects with a USGS field office in Knoxville, TN. So while I’m not exactly a bird person, this project caught my eye. I don’t know how many cards I’ll do (I’ve done 20ish cards thus far, a small slice of the 6 million total cards), but I figured some was better than none. You can also choose to transcribe cards by specific species or location, so I’ve been doing records for Tennessee cards/bird sightings.