The Digital Watauga Project, a community digital archivecreated through a partnership with the local historical society and public library, is based in rural Watauga County, North Carolina. Similar to every institution last spring, we quickly found ourselves reconfiguring operations to fit a world where remote work became the norm. One remote task we undertook was a crowdsourcing project to identify individuals and businesses from images created by a late local photographer, Palmer Blair. His project, “Workers of Boone,” consisted of 399 images of people in various professions throughout Watauga County during the 1950s. Through crowdsourcing via social media we discovered that the community was eager to engage, help, and connect. Just as people were finding entertainment and comfort in familiar past-times, they seemed to find comfort in seeing old friends and places from the past. Our poster will illustrate the growth in engagement our project has experienced since the community was issued the first stay-at-home order. Our overall goal is to demonstrate the necessity of crowdsourcing as methods of community engagement and archival description, especially during a time when remote activities are vital for health and safety, but also generally when it comes to digital entities such as ourselves. We intend to illustrate the ways in which, during crowdsourcing, our users became more engaged, our descriptions more specific, and our user base wider. Overall, we plan to show that crowdsourcing can form a symbiotic relationship with the community by providing entertainment while gathering information with little to no cost.
How to Cite:
Bradshaw, T. & Woods, J. & Estep, S., (2021) “Small Archive Projects in a Pandemic: Entertaining America”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations 2021(1).