Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 1

The Jewish Museum London: Mapping Migration: Jewish Temporary Shelter Cards — using the newly digitised Jewish Temporary Shelter (JTS) cards, this project explored how the museum could use georeferencing technologies to present information in new ways.

Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 1

1. Project overview

The project studied information contained within 242 record cards from the Jewish Temporary Shelter dating from the 1940s and 1950s which records migrants passing through the shelter just after WWII. The Jewish Museum employed a research associate to carry out the task of geo-referencing the data, promoting the progress of the project through blogs and social media and presenting outcomes via talks and workshops. Project outputs included a microsite on the Jewish Museum London’s website dedicated to the project, an interactive map, a searchable dataset, and workshops and talks published on YouTube.


2. Project stats

Data accurate as of April 2022:

  • Overall, 31 participants took part in virtual talks, georeferencing training, core activities, workshops and the final presentation.
  • There were 64 visits to the JTS microsite, 4,361 impressions on Twitter and 2,536 impressions on Facebook.
  • Three blog posts were written about the project, receiving 168 views.


3. Key successes

  • A microsite on the Jewish Museum London’s website dedicated to the project, an interactive map where data can be easily navigated, a searchable dataset, two workshops published on YouTube, and a talk, also published on YouTube.
  • A total of 24 people from all over the UK and Europe participated in engagement activities. In addition, Museum Collections staff have now been trained in geo-referencing, basic html coding, and web publishing.


4. Key learnings

  • When looking at the website analytics, upward curves are made around the time of events, so it’s clear that social media supports a strong crescendo of engagement.
  • A view of the Research Centre analytics page supports the idea that this project has encouraged greater engagement and exploration of the Research Centre web pages. More projects such as this will extend the depth of exploration and connection.


5. Top tip

Using digital technology can help to interpret and disseminate information in a visual and accessible way. By mapping the data using geo-referencing techniques, our project aimed to inspire our audiences to conduct further research into the collection and upskill them with the skills to present data in new ways.


6. Links to digital outputs


7. Attribution

Digitally Democratising Archives (2022) by The Audience Agency supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Digitally Democratising Archives (Opening Archives) was an action research project, designed and led by The Audience Agency, supporting 10 organisations to explore archives, community engagement and digital tools. It was funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2021/22 as part of the as part of the Digital Skills for Heritage’s Connect Heritage programme.

More help here

Wooden boxes with photos and pictures

How to increase the opportunities for our visitors to engage more deeply with our online archive

Digitising your archive can enable more people to engage with your content and heritage organisation. In this resource, Sarah Saunders looks at the ways digital archives and collections can be organised so that visitors can engage more deeply with them online. She explores the importance of keeping the user front and centre to ensure that your online archive reflects the engagement you want for your users.


Create a remote global volunteer base to improve the searchability of digital archive

The #CrowdCymru digital archives volunteer project was jointly run by Gwent Archives, Glamorgan Archives and Cardiff University & Special Collections. Using a newly created bi-lingual online platform developed by the National Library of Wales, #CrowdCymru invited volunteers to tag, index and transcribe documents to make them more accessible for researchers.  Although the majority of the remote volunteers came from Wales, there were also sign-ups from USA, Canada, Australia and South Korea.


A large garden greenhouse with house plants

Transcribe, geotag and research horticultural heritage collections

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Digital Dig is a virtual volunteering project, with more than 165 volunteers helping the UK uncover and document its hidden horticultural history. The project has helped uncover and document hidden horticultural history through three distinct volunteering programmes: Transcribers, Geotaggers and Digital Ambassadors and has created digital resources that will make this previously inaccessible collection widely available to online users.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Archive Digital archive Digital Heritage Heritage
Published: 2022
Resource type: Case studies

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 1 (2022) by The Audience Agency supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

Arts Marketing Association
Heritage Digital
University of Leeds logo
The Heritage Fund logo