The National Archives needs your help. The federal agency is looking for volunteer archivists to make its collections of photography from life on Native American reservations more accessible via online searches.
Volunteers will tag these historic photos of reservation life, taken in the early- and mid-20th century by photographers from federal agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Citizen archivists can generate searchable tags by identifying the people, places, and activities shown in the images. It helps if you have a bit of insider knowledge and can recognize individuals or the locations where the images were shot, but non-experts can lend a hand by labeling what's happening in the photos.
The collections span everything from images of 4-H participants from 1933 to photos of locations you can no longer see, such as parts of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota that were flooded by the construction of a dam in the late 1940s, causing the tribes who lived there to lose 94 percent of their agricultural land. Tagging these photos makes these vital documentations of reservation life more accessible to the public and to scholars.
Previously, the National Archives has solicited regular folks for other digitization projects, including transcribing declassified documents that included records from UFO sightings and tagging a congressional cookbook.
To participate, start with the National Archives' email newsletter, which contains some ideas for which collections to start on. You can register as a "citizen archivist" on archives.gov.