Thank you, volunteers!

Them Days owes a lot to our volunteers. They do so much for us, whether it’s picking up or delivering magazines, stuffing envelopes, interviewing, driving the editor around ;), writing stories, playing music, taking photos, or making flummies at our Culture Days event, serving on our board or one of our committees, typing transcripts, or any of the other ways we’re helped out. We get by with a little help from our friends, as the song goes. (By the way, if anyone is hankering to do some transcription work, we need some volunteer transcriptionists! Our fisheries issue work is continuing at a fast pace, and even though Tabea is hard at transcription work every day, we have a TON of interviews!!)

We have so much to be thankful for at Them Days, and on this volunteer week, I would like to say a special thank you to all the volunteers who have helped out at Them Days. Your work is truly appreciated.

Here’s a photo I don’t think I shared before on the blog. It’s the presentation of the first Isaac Rich Award for Volunteer Service. We gave it to John Heard last year (if we want to be technical, it was for 2013, but I think the presentation was early in 2014). John is a wonderful man who has done so much for Them Days and other organizations in town. He has an infectious spirit and is the humblest person I have probably ever met. He’s a truly good soul and I’m happy to know him.

Then-chair Susan Felsberg presents the first-ever Isaac Rich Award for Volunteer Service to John O. Heard last year.

Then-chair Susan Felsberg presents the first-ever Isaac Rich Award for Volunteer Service to John O. Heard last year.

You may remember that the second award was given to Dave Massie, another awesome volunteer at Them Days.

Okay, this is funny. As I’m typing up this blog post, I get a new email notification and here is its contents:

The Royal BC Museum celebrates
National Volunteer Week with a terrific invitation

VICTORIA, BC – Today, to celebrate National Volunteer Week, the Royal BC Museum launched Transcribe (transcribe.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca), a crowd-sourcing website that invites the public to transcribe valuable historical records from our archival collection.

By donating their time to transcribe letters, diaries, journals and other materials, volunteers can help share BC’s history from the comfort of their living room, library or local café.

Don Reksten, a long-time member of the Friends of the BC Archives and volunteer at the BC Archives for 12 years, was one of the first to transcribe a document on the website. “From the BC Archives point of view, the benefits of Transcribe are twofold,” he said. “The documents are now available online and you end up with searchable transcriptions. It’s really a worthwhile endeavour.”

The concept behind Transcribe is simple: the Royal BC Museum provides digital photographs of archival materials alongside a blank text area, and users type exactly what they see. Anyone with access to the internet can participate. Volunteers simply visit the website, choose a collection and start transcribing, all on their own time.

“Crowd-sourcing is an increasingly popular way for archives and museums like ours to improve the accessibility of their collections,” said David Alexander, Head of New Archives & Digital Preservation at the Royal BC Museum. “The more volunteers who turn their attention to the Transcribe website, the easier it is for future users to search for – and learn from – handwritten source records.”

Once the finished transcriptions have been approved by Royal BC Museum staff, the data will become searchable on the Transcribe site, using relevant keywords. Visitors to the site are not obligated to transcribe; they will also have the option to view the materials as an online exhibition or to browse existing transcriptions.

Volunteers already serve a significant and visible role at the Royal BC Museum, with 426 volunteers providing assistance by doing work as varied as classifying specimens, greeting visitors, leading tours and mailing information to members. The beauty of the Transcribe project is that volunteers can assist from just about anywhere.

The site currently features diaries, letters and other materials from WWI. As the project grows, new collections and new audio and video media will be introduced. The first batch of images includes the letters of Victoria lawyer Arthur Douglas Crease, who described the war in letters to his family. Crease survived the war, and his letters became an important part of BC’s history.

Isn’t that funny? Here I am, talking about a need for volunteer transcriptionists, and up pops this email! I love this idea!

Happy Volunteer Week, everyone! Much love to our volunteers. ❤ ❤ ❤

Aimee

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