By the People is a crowd-sourcing project that enlists the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. A collection of nearly 6,000 documents written by President James A. Garfield is the latest addition to By the People.
A New Primary Source Crowd-sourcing Project from the Library of Congress
Today, James Garfield is one of the lesser-known former Presidents of the United States. That’s partly due to his short time in office before he was assassinated in 1881. His papers in the By the People collection provide insight into who he was and what he thought about a wide range of topics from business to marriage to politics.
Applications for Education
Anyone can participate in the LOC’s By the People project to transcribe documents in the Garfield collection of notes and diaries. Having high school students attempt to transcribe some of the documents could be a good way for them to learn about the 20th President of the United States and learn about the value of primary sources.
To get started transcribing documents in the the By the People project simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.