The National Air and Space Museum currently houses more than 38,640 pages of material spanning Sally Ride’s career as a physicist, astronaut, and educator. There’s just one big issue with the massive collection: the majority of it is handwritten or typed on a typewriter and isn’t searchable.
The museum estimates that all of the content takes up roughly 23 cubic feet; however, it can be hard to search, and hard to access.
The museum has scanned all of the documents in, but now it’s asking for help in making that scanned archive easier for others to access.
If you’d like to take part, you can sign up to help through the Smithsonian’s Transcription Centre. The digital hub launched in 2013 and has been used for a number of transcription projects since.
Currently, you can transcribe notes from Ride’s shuttle training, which occurred between 1979 and 1981, as well as some notes from various NASA commissions she served on.
A lot of the pages are those typewriter pages, making them easy to read. You just have to spend the time to type their content over again.
Signing up for the transcription service is free, and just requires creating a username and providing an email address.
Beyond Ride’s notes, which are nearing their compleation, there are also a number of other projects that the museum is looking for volunteers to work on, including a transcription of a diary from WWI. You can browse all the available projects here.
If you’re looking for a way to pass the time while you’re at home, it can be a fun activity to fill a few minutes (or a few hours) and can help people better access historical material for years to come.