HIS 218
Unit 14: Big Picture, User Participation Projects and Crowd-Sourcing (Genealogy)

Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach, Normandy France, 2010, site of the D-Day landings in June 1944. Photo courtesy Anne Stewart.
Blue Separator Bar

Short introduction

Here, I'm going to introduce you the idea of crowd-sourcing projects, such as the hunt for Genghis Khan. There are many of these projects available now, but as with all digital projects it is very important that a project (tool) be especially well-designed so that it can be used. My scripto tool to enable public transcription of selected documents is clearly not as well done as the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

What you must do in this unit


  • Post on your blog (5 points): (a) suggestions of at least two user participation projects, particularly those that focus on Virginia or local history that you find interesting; and (b) explain their importance. Please let me know in Canvas when you have posted so that I can grade.
  • Post on your blog (5 points) a short critique and some comments about the timelines created by the other students in the course. You will find the URLs in the Canvas discussion board.

Extra credit options

  • Please suggest any materials relevant to this unit of the course.

Unit learning objectives

  • Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) explain user-participation, historical projects, (2) indicate the relationship between social media and crowd-sourcing projects and (3) demonstrate your ability to transcribe historical materials, a history-specific skills necessary for future employment.

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