The Technological Cutting Edge: Virtual Volunteering for Shropshire’s Heritage

Virtual volunteering may sound incredibly futuristic, however, it is happening globally and anyone, (with a computer and internet access), can be involved.

Shropshire Archives and Discovering Shropshire’s History partners have now got their own piece of the action. The new website, www.heritageheroes.org.uk, is being launched tomorrow at Discover Shropshire Day at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury. This sees Shropshire staking its place firmly at the forefront of technological and virtual advancement. The Shropshire’s Heritage Heroes website contains details of archives and local studies material, physical artefacts, works of art, technological items, handicrafts, details of archaeological sites, buildings and finds from digs and information on partners such as history societies. This project is leading the way in volunteering, as the ‘virtual volunteers’, from their own homes, do not just obtain the opportunity to enhance records held at the Shropshire Archives and partner organisations, but what they submit, after being moderated, is then returned back into the archives and museums catalogue databases. This is a first that we know of in this country.

The project was started back in 2013, with the appointment of a Project Manager, Alison Pritchard, and a Volunteer Coordinator, Emily Nicklin. Having been in post now for nine months, the project has taken lots of twists and turns and uncovered some very exciting items, from Victorian postcards with a naughty hidden secret, to a late 17th early 18th century recipe and remedy book.

If you are unable to physically visit a museum or archive centre to volunteer, for whatever reason, then this is the project for you. You will have a variety of tasks to choose from including spelling and grammar checking, linking data, transcribing documents, indexing and taking part in more in-depth research. Projects will be visible on the home page and will change and alter once completed, so we ask you to be patient and see what interesting things come up!

We hope to attract a variety of ‘virtual volunteers’ ranging in skills, ages, geographical locations and motivations, we hope that this project will enable the sharing of expertise regarding the collections and create its very own online hub community between its ‘virtual volunteers’ and archive and museum professionals.

So if you think this is something of interest, then please follow the link, www.heritageheroes.org.uk, register and go grab a project that you fancy.

Please watch this space ….

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