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National Archives crowdsources transcription of CIA files

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Tearing a page, so to speak, from social media crowdfunding campaigns like last year's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the National Archives has turned to Twitter to raise a volunteer workforce of citizen archivists to help transcribe some of millions of digitized documents—including thousands of declassified CIA and Department of Defense files. The goal of the Transcription Challenge: 1,000 transcribed pages of documents by March 23.

The Transcription Challenge corresponds with Sunshine Week, an open government campaign originally launched by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors as Sunshine Sunday in 2002. The event was adopted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and extended to a week in 2003, and it has since picked up support from the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, Bloomberg, The Gridiron Club, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The National Archives is looking for individuals interested in helping to use Twitter and the hashtag #1000pages to claim documents for transcription and tell the Archives' staff what they've found.

In addition to CIA and other declassified files, the Archives is offering up a number of other "missions," ranging from National Forest documents and photos to papers of the Continental Congress and records of the Confederate Government. There are also audio recordings of interviews conducted by the 9/11 commission.

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