Pitch In! and become a digital volunteer

SLQ’s new digital volunteer program Pitch In! is a opportunity for anyone, anywhere to add value to our digital collections and get involved in Queensland’s history. Transcribing historical documents and adding keywords to photographs has always been highly valued ‘behind-the-scenes’ work for staff and volunteers at the library but now many of these tasks can be achieved online, making volunteering accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Digital volunteers can tag beautiful historical photos, text correct old newspapers, transcribe significant historical documents or tell their own Queensland story. The program launched on 8th July, and is already showing fantastic community involvement. 300 new tags have been added to historic photos already and some reminiscences of Queensland’s first female doctor, Eleanor Elizabeth Bourne were transcribed in the first 2 days.

Grounded in crowd sourcing and open data principles Pitch In! is helping make digital collections more visible and accessible online so that everyone can use and share them, now and in the future. As Natalie Lonsdale, a Pitch In! volunteer who has been tagging photos in Flickr says;

“I got involved because I love learning about Australian history and because I enjoy looking at historic photos - I think you can really get a sense of who people were and what society was like from past photographs."

This photo of a group of gorgeous young women at Kirra Beach in 1938 has had 26 tags added, telling us more about who they are, where they were from, and what they were wearing.

Friends posing on Kirra Beach, 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 90977

With the centenary of World War 1 beginning in 2014 we’d like to work hand-in-hand with the community to bring historical documents, newspapers and photographs to life. Transcribing and text correcting the vast amount of material so it can be found and used by family historians, researches and anyone with an interest in history, can only be accomplished by pitching in together.

Through social media and the online platforms we’re using  - Flickr Commons, Trove, Historyin and Wikisource - we can respond quickly to community requests for Pitch In! assignments. A  recent query from The Chronicle newspaper in Toowoomba has already led to the creation of a new photo tagging assignment, showcasing the Darling Downs region, for their daily segment “The Way We Were”. We are looking forward to seeing local knowledge bring more information about these photos to light.

Pitch In! is ongoing, evolving and responding to community interests so please let us know what sort of content you’d like to tag, text-correct, transcribe or tell a Queensland story about. Leave a reply here to get in touch, or email discovery@slq.qld.gov.au

Pip Kelly, Pitch In! Project Officer and Margaret Warren, Coordinator, Discovery Services

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Eleanor Bourne was my first cousin once removed. I'm very interested in getting more involved with the digital volunteer Pitch In! programme, it sounds wonderful.

Thanks for letting us know about your connection with Eleanor Bourne. We hope you are as happy as we are to see her memories transcribed so that many more people can know about her and her work. Hope you find a Pitch In! assignment to work on.