Feeling restless? Join research to identify wildlife and more

January 15, 2021

Looking for a gentle activity this winter that feels better than endlessly scrolling, without the pressure of having to form functional sentences with other people over video chat?

We hear that! It's why we've rounded up the following impactful citizen science projects you can contribute to:

  • in your pajamas
  • by yourself or with family members or roommates
  • in a handful of free minutes
  • that doesn’t require any specialized expertise 
Our friendly staff at the library’s Shapiro Design Lab offer and support resources and projects that employ citizen science. If you like what you see, drop them a line or find out more about what they do!

Penguin Watch

Count penguins in remote regions to help researchers understand their lives and environment.

Dolphin Chat

Learn about the acoustic sounds dolphins make, and then use that information to identify and classify recordings to let researchers know if dolphins are visiting certain areas.

Stall Catchers

Help contribute to Alzheimer’s disease research with Stall Catchers, which uses an online game to collect data about blood vessels in mice. Suitable for younger players. Read more about it in Wired Magazine.

Anti-Slavery Manuscripts

Help transcribe messages from a collection of handwritten documents between anti-slavery activists in the 19th century into texts that are more easily read and researched by teachers, students, and historians.

Sedimental Values

Help transcribe and organize field note measurements from more than 40 years of excavations at Pit 91, one of the richest fossil sites from the last Ice Age at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

Michigan ZoomIN

The last season of Michigan ZoomIN involved identifying critters caught on trail cameras throughout Michigan to help understand animal populations, migrations, and other ecological dynamics. 

That work has since been wrapped up, and a new one is about to launch that includes images of Detroit before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned.

By the People campaigns

Help transcribe, review, and tag digitized pages from the Library of Congress to improve access to their collections. Campaigns include notes from folklorist Alan Lomax and diaries and journals from American Red Cross founder Clara Barton

For official Douglass Day celebrations from February 12–14, the platform will host a mass transcribing event for the papers of civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell.

We host Douglass Day events each February. Join one or all of the festivities this year during our virtual birthday party for Frederick Douglass on Friday, February 12, from 1:30–4 pm!

For more citizen science projects, check out Zooniverse and SciStarter, or see the Design Lab's research guide.

by Emily Buckler

Still image from PenguinWatch, available on the Zooniverse platform.

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