Week 13: Public Historians and Shared Authority on the Web

Navigating through the National Archives and Records Administration Citizen Archivist website was fairly refreshing! I created an account and the process was pretty straight-forward. It’s amazing how much you can do within the website, the tasks are infinite. The cataloguing and metadata of WWII materials was very intriguing – I took the opportunity of adding tags to certain photographs such as this Orlando Roseland image and I have to say at first it was a bit confusing because there are two sections where you could add tags whenever you’re viewing a photograph. One of these sections were located to the left of the photograph and I kept adding tags there not realizing that it doesn’t show under “View/Add Contributions” in relation to the photograph. Once I clicked on “View/Add Contributions” beneath the photograph, I noticed other tags had been previously added as well so I went ahead and added about six more. I repeated this process for about three photographs.

Finding how to tag photographs was a little bit difficult at first so what I did to find it was by writing “tagging”in the search subfield and that led me to a page full of files and documents and photographs from which I just picked a couple of photographs to tag. The task of tagging helped me analyze the photo closely and notice details I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. Even though the photos were all in black and white – there is so much intricate information you could obtain just by looking very closely. I found it helpful that some photographs had a small description. Tagging here is definitely different than what I would use on Instagram.

For Instagram I usually put longer tags and informal ones obviously. I really enjoyed the ability to zoom in on a particular image and even more the ability to download it! The amount of resources offered are very beneficial not only for researchers, museum curators, but even veterans and military individuals! Another helpful area I found within the website was the ‘Advanced Search‘ metadata fields – it really does provide many useful information that helps in trying to find an item or resource accurately. I tried searching for “museums” and I was surprised with how much exhibit and museum information I was confronted with and the different types of materials makes it all the more resourceful. The archival records are vast – no doubt and the high level of interaction helps me engage more attentively with the historical materials. I found this website to be as useful as Omeka – with a few confusing spots here and there which I think has to do with the amount of information offered – a little overwhelming to navigate through but overall a very interactive, educational, and informative historical gem!

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