October 11, 2016

Decoding the Civil War

Thanks to my mother in law I recently learned about a series of U.S. Military Telegrams that needed to be "decoded." https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/decoding-the-civil-war

Here is how they describe their effort.

Over one hundred and fifty years have passed since the end of the United States Civil War and it still captures the imagination and passion of young and old. The war and its participants — the policy makers, the generals, and the everyday troops and citizens — are perpetually fascinating to members of the public. Drawing together the expertise of four organizations — The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; North Carolina State University; and Zooniverse — along with a two-year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), Decoding the Civil War's goal is to use the transcription and decoding of Civil War telegrams from The Thomas T. Eckert Papers to harness this fascination and engage new and younger audiences using crowdsourcing technology to spark their curiosity and develop new critical thinking skills.
The transcription and decoding will contribute to national research, as each participant will become a “citizen archivist,” creating materials that will be of use and openly available to scholars interested in telegraphy, cryptography, communications during wartime, technology, civilian-military relations, and many other aspects of the Civil War or American history more generally. Perhaps the most meaningful outcome is that the collaborative will provide public access to previously unavailable historical records in a format that will lead to a better understanding of communications, technology, and the course of the Civil War.

I suspect that many messages relate to railroad movements. So if you have some spare time on your hand lend a hand in this crowdsourced effort to decode the thousands of messages.

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