Do you want to make your screen time beneficial to society? You can join several projects that help researchers without ever leaving your internet browser!

Although computers seem to always know the answer, the reality is humans are often better at identifying certain things like objects in pictures, locations on maps, and handwritten letters. With lots of people each doing only a little work, these projects crowdsource tasks too difficult for computers and too big for individuals.

Citizen Archivist
Calling all history buffs! The National Archives opened up their collections and is asking for your help organizing them. Adding tags and transcriptions to documents allows educators, researchers, and students to better access these unique parts of American history. Search for a particular topic or join a “mission” that targets particular collections like Civil War photographs or National Parks documents. Many other archives and libraries also have transcription projects like the University of Iowa Libraries HERE.

Stardust @ Home 
More of a space enthusiast? Help analyze dust collected during a NASA mission! Researchers are searching for interstellar dust particles but they have millions of images to look through — far too many to search all by themselves. Join a community of people looking through the images and compete to make it to the top of their leaderboard.

Maybe you just want to help the world while you watch television. Tomnod is a part of satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe that asks users to identify key features of satellite pictures. These identifications contribute to a larger project, usually one that will help real people and projects as they did after the deadly 2015 earthquakes in Nepal or the Malaysian Airline crash in 2014. You might look for traces of wildfires, buildings in Africa, or farm land along the path of migratory birds. Whatever you find you can be assured that you’re helping others.

Like most crowdsourcing projects, these websites require very little in terms of technology skills. All you need is motivation to help and some spare time. Share your favorite online project in the Comments Section that contributes to achieve a larger goal too!

About Author
Brian Sarnacki, Community Projects Specialist

Brian is a Community Projects Specialist for Do Space and a graduate of Notre Dame and UNL with degrees in History. He lives with his Chiweenie named Wesley, who owns many adorable sweaters.