Civic Technology/Preserve History

Digitize artifactsEdit

Local museums and libraries often have collections of artifacts, photographs, and documents. In many cases, underfunded institutions have been unable to commit resources to preserving these objects digitally, while retaining and preserving the original article.

When properly digitized, backed up, and distributed these artifacts can be more easily shared with the world, and a facsimile can aid scholars should the original be destroyed in a disaster. Of course the original should always be retained and safeguarded. Ask their staff If there is a way you can help out, either by volunteering your time, spreading the word, or donating.

Wikimedia CommonsEdit

Wikimedia Commons is a sister project to Wikibooks and Wikipedia. It aims to be a collective repository of freely licensed images. By taking your own photos of local landmarks, events, and natural sites, you can help preserve local history for future generations.

Examples of features you should consider adding to commons if they are missing.

  • Important local buildings.
  • Monuments and structures.
  • Important parks and natural features.
  • Major events.
  • Historical Sites.

Visit the Wikimedia Commmons welcome page to get started.

Record a StoryEdit

Many people have stories to tell, which are passed down verbally. These stories could one day help historians, but are all too often lost to time. By using a simple recording application, you can ask someone with such a story allow you to record and submit their story, preserving it for future generations. One example of an application that can help you do this is StoryCorps, which is focused on the United States. Other countries often have similar programs.

For more information on StoryCorps read their Wikipedia article.

If you live in a region without access to a service like StoryCorps there are other ways of sharing a story. A local library or historical society might be interested in a copy of your stories. You could share it as a podcast, or otherwise publish it online.

Example story ideas to record:

  • Family history.
  • Major events in someone's life.
  • Stories about a local event or business.

Transcribe DocumentsEdit

There exist vast numbers of documents which predate computers which have been scanned, but not formatted for efficient digital use. This creates problems, as such documents can't be searched, and can also not be used with a screen reader by those with vision impairments.