The Australian Museum has been exploring a new form of volunteering - Online Volunteering - where volunteers do all their volunteer activity on the internet. It means that volunteers can assist us without having to physically come into the Museum, they do it all from the comfort of their own home. All that is required is a computer with internet access.
The Museum's first online volunteering project was initiated in the past few weeks. It involved online volunteers (OV’s) checking animal factsheet URL links to see if they were still working. These links have recently changed due to the AM’s recent website upgrade. This meant that applications such as the Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums (OZCAM) that linked to the Museum's factsheets had old broken links. This is a problem that can only be fixed by having a person/s go through, check all the links and search the new site to find the new URLs and replace the old URLs.
A spreadsheet listing the common names of animal species in the factsheets, the associated old URLs and a field for new URL’s was put up in Google Documents. Existing volunteers who have been involved recently in collection digitising trials were then asked if they were interested in being involved. Those that responded were then given access to the Google document with instructions on how to validate and replace the old URL’s with new correct URL’s.
The results have been amazing. There were approximately 1700 records requiring checking and fixing. All of these records were fixed within a week by a small dedicated group of online volunteers. Thanks to the following wonderful online volunteers :
- Cath Curran
- Dave Mackinnon
- Nicky Barry
- Robyn Gardner
- Jan Perkin
- Pam Forbes
- John Gollan
- John Tann
This type of volunteering won’t replace onsite volunteering, and we will still offer plenty of opportunities for volunteers to come into the Museum. This is just another way in which we hope volunteers may be willing to help us.
Please contact me if you're interested in becoming a part of this exciting program!
Paul Flemons , Manager, Collections Informatics Unit