Many Hands - Looking Back Over 2014

12 January 2015 708

Over 2014 the crowdsourcing website Many Hands started in a new design. The results of our participants’ satisfaction survey showed that people were very positive about the new website. A lot has happened in 2014. We started with a user group in the spring and we reached the milestone of five thousand volunteers in the autumn. Moreover several innovative projects have been started and a few have finished.


Yes, I do | Many Hands

The Lice Job

The year started with the finishing of the Crystal Clear! (Glashelder!) project for Naturalis Biodiversity Center. In this project Many Hands participants were asked to enter the data found next to the glass compositions which included lice and mites. This included information such as the scientific name of the animal, gender, the location and date it was found. It was an interesting challenge as there was a huge variation between species, data and spellings.


Yes, I do

February 3th the new project Yes, I do! (Ja, ik wil!) got online on the Many Hands crowdsourcing website. Researchers from Utrecht University in collaboration with Amsterdam City Archives wish to use this project to make the huge amount of data related to the relationship between demographics, marriage patterns, and the socioeconomic situation of the Low Countries suitable for scientific historical research.


Many Ajax Supporters

Picturae digitized the archive of the football club AFC Ajax. The digitized images are being described using the crowdsourcing platform Many Hands within the "VeleAjacieden" project. Thus, for example, members of the fan club describe the players in the image, which game it is, and what the situation is, etc.


Cadastral Registers

Since March 10th the first project was launched in which cadastral registers are being made online searchable. Within this project the Frisian Academy and the Drenthe Archives ask volunteers to index the Original Demonstrative Tables (ODT's). ODT’s are set up by cadastral municipality, contain all registered plots quoting number, owner, address of the owner and his or her profession. Furthermore, taxation-related data may be found, such as the area of each plot and its use (eg home, farmland, garden, oven, building). All this information is being entered by volunteers.


Leiden Heritage

The second project with heritage of the Leiden area went live on April 7th. In this project volunteers can help index  old notarial protocols of Leiden and surroundings from 1564 to 1811.


Many Hands


A remarkable cooperation project went live April 14th: WhoWasWho - Population Registers. In this project Many Hands participants are asked to make the population registers of Breda City Archives, Rotterdam City Archives and Limburg Regional Historical Centre online accessible by indexing them. This project makes it possible that more historical sources can be found online, the easier it is to unravel your family history.


Rivierenland Regional Archive

A new population registers project went online in June of the Rivierenland Regional Archive. The archive is using this project to index the population registers of the current municipalities city of Germalsen, Neerijnen, Buren, Culemborg, Tiel and Neder-Betuwe in the river area during the period 1811-1938.



The MOCCA project (Modeling Crowdsourcing for Cultural Heritage), a six-month research project by the University of Amsterdam, the City Archives of Amsterdam, and Picturae, has successfully developed a model that aims to assist in the design and implementation of effective cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects. The model also tackles fundamental misconceptions about crowdsourcing.


Next Patient

In september a new source was introduced on the Many Hands website: Patient records. The Amsterdam City Archive starte the project Next Patient (Volgende Patiënt!) and asked help to index patient records during the period 1818-1899.


Amsterdam Monuments

Another project of the Amsterdam City Archives followed quickly. So the archive launchedthe Amsterdam Monuments (Amsterdamse monumenten). The negative collection of Monuments and Archaeology Bureau contains thousands of beautiful pictures of monuments in the center of Amsterdam. In this project Many Hands participants are asked to describe these photos.



The last project that was launched in 2014 was the project of the Brabant Historical Information Center. In this project Brabant prison records are made online searchable. Within a month this project was over 50% and by now the project is almost finished!


‘Overgenomen Delen’

To celebrate the ‘Overgenomen Delen’ project of the Amsterdam City Archive was finished a party was organised October 22th – exactly two years after the project started in 2012. During the project a few remarkable things happened. People found nine names and persons who moved 34 times. During the project no less than two miljon names were retyped and in the online database already 280.000 were searched.


Deventer Population Registers

In November the population registers project Deventer City Archive - Population Registers (1811-1940) was finished. In this project volunteers helped the City Archives and Deventer Athenaeum Library (SAB) to make Deventer Population Registers (1829-1940) as well as Diepenveen (1840-1939) and Bathmen (1811-1937) accessible. Participants in Many Hands entered the name, date and place of birth appearing on the Population Registers.


West-Friese Lidmaten

Another memorable event in November was the celebration of the first anniversary of the West Frisian Members project (Westfriese Lidmaten) of the West Frisian Archive on Many Hands. In this project entering this information does not just involve retyping data. The older books require some knowledge of old fashioned handwriting. Participants can specify which difficulty level of scans they wish to enter: easy, normal or hard.


Nijmegen Population Registers

By the end of December 2014 the project Nijmegen Regional Archives - Population Registers 1850-1890 was finished. In this project the population registers of the city of Nijmegen and the surrounding villages of Voorhees, Neerbosch and Hatert during the period 1850-1890 were being indexed.

All in all, 2014 was an eventful, innovation-filled year for Many Hands, with many new projects and special achievements. The Many Hands team is happy that they have an even more user-friendly website with the help of the participants and will work hard in the future to continuously improve the website. The Many Hands team would like to thank all participants very much for their enthusiasm and their working effort. It was a very productive year.