72,376 pages transcribed!

Transcription Blitz!

Become a part of history without even leaving your house! Join our virtual event any time October 20-24 to transcribe antique egg cards from the UI Museum of Natural History's bird collection.

DIY History lets you do it yourself to help make historic artifacts easier to use. Our digital library holds hundreds of thousands of items -- much more than library staff could ever catalog alone, so we're appealing to the public to help out by attaching text in the form of transcriptions, tags, and comments. Through "crowdsourcing," or engaging volunteers to contribute effort toward large-scale goals, these mass quantities of digitized artifacts become searchable, allowing researchers to quickly seek out specific information, and general users to browse and enjoy the materials more easily. Please join us in preserving our past by keeping the historic record accessible -- one page or picture at a time.

eThe goal of DIY History is to make historic artifacts more accessible – both by enhancing catalog records for greater ease in searching and browsing, and by engaging the public to interact with the materials in new ways. While typeset texts can be scanned with OCR (optical character recognition) technology to quickly and inexpensively add full text searchability, there’s no such easy fix for other primary source materials like handwritten documents or photographs. Making these items findable requires time-consuming manual labor to transcribe or describe each item – a process that doesn’t scale with traditional library workflows. By outsourcing this work to volunteers and attaching their contributions to the artifacts in our digital library, users can search on this added text to more quickly and easily find what they’re seeking. With DIY History, we’re also hoping to attract new users interested in more active engagement with the collections. By volunteering their time to help make these materials more accessible, participants can learn new information about past eras while assisting others, including researchers using the documents, as well as the original authors and photographers whose stories they're helping to preserve.

Anyone is welcome to contribute to the site – no special expertise is required. For transcribing documents, registration is required. create an account in order to track your contributions, watch the latest transcriptions, or follow the conversations.