Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (WASM) first appeared online in December 1997. Over 25 years this online journal and database has grown to include some 200,000 pages of primary documents and interpretive documents building on those documents. In the process of constructing the database, its historian editors have collaborated extensively with librarian authors. In this panel we share the experiences of three librarians who became major contributors.
Document projects have been the central publication on WASM, consisting of an interpretive essay and 20-30 primary documents. In 2016, Cindy Ingold, a librarian at the University of Illinois, published a document project, “How Did Women's Groups in the American Library Association Promote Activism around Women's Issues in Librarianship during the 1970s?” She will discuss the project and its impact on her work as a librarian.
In about 2014 Thomas Dublin, co-editor of WASM, began a new project to construct a database consisting of crowdsourced biographical sketches of more than 3,000 grassroots women suffragists. Kelly Blessinger, a librarian at Louisiana State University, was an early volunteer. She wrote two sketches, but more importantly she organized fellow librarians at LSU to participate. She will discuss recruiting other Louisiana librarians to complete biographical sketches and her part in the project including the tools she used. Additionally, she will briefly cover two other crowdsourced historical projects she is participating in.
Our third presenter, Tammie Busch, librarian at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, came to the suffragist crowdsourcing project by serving as Missouri state coordinator, recruiting volunteers, assigning suffragists, and copyediting completed sketches for almost 80 Missouri suffragists. She welcomed the opportunity to work with volunteer authors from varied backgrounds. She describes how the project made her a better librarian, collaborator, and project manager.