As we touched on in our earlier post about the Smithsonian Transcription Center and their successful team of volunteer transcribers, the hashtag #volunpeers was first used by the Center’s project coordinator Dr. Meghan Ferriter. In the four years since Ferriter coined the term, in April 2014, it has taken off as a popular hashtag across a wide variety of host repositories, projects, and geographic locations, serving as a virtual focal point for an international community of transcribers.
Since the beginning of 2017, hashtag community-building, brainstorming, and problem-solving has been used by institutions as diverse as:
Shakespeare’s World, an Oxford- and Washington, D.C.-based project of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Zooinverse, and the Oxford English Dictionary that is working to transcribe documents created by thousands of the Bard’s contemporaries, and
More specific hashtags can be created to host one-time or regularly recurring chat sessions about particular projects, collections, or issues, such as #CitSciChat (an abbreviation of Citizen Scientist Chat), where scientists, archivists, volunteers, and others discuss the myriad ways citizen-powered crowd sourcing is being used to further scientific inquiry. Some of the federally funded projects that have seen their contributors made use of this hashtag and the resources shared there include the National Archives and Records Administration’s Citizen Archivist Dashboard, the United States Geological Survey’s Nature’s Notebook, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s mPING mobile application, which allows volunteers to contribute to crowd-sourced weather reports. However you choose to engage, jumping into the active “volunpeer” social media community is a fantastic way to learn about current issues and practices related to volunteer transcription projects while galvanizing enthusiasm for your own.
Other popular Twitter hashtags that transcription volunteers and project managers may find useful and fun include #volunpeers, #citizenarchivist, #citizenscience, #citsci, and, of course, #paleography (and the British #palaeography). Often, specific projects/collections have their own hashtag, such as the recently completed Smithsonian volunteer enterprise that transcribed 53,000 index cards containing the joke library of Phyllis Diller: #DillerFile!
#ProTip: if you decide to inaugurate a new hashtag for your work, be sure to check that it’s not already in active use.
So, while you’re busily transcribing, don’t forget to get tweeting, too!