volunteering between keyboard and chair
March 7, 2018 5:09 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to make a list of online places to volunteer for that I can do sitting in my chair at home. Especially interested in stuff where I can help out people e.g. people who can't hear or see. Examples: transcribing audio/books (e.g. for libraries (which libraries currently need this?), Mefi podcast), subbing foreign language videos, Be My Eyes. I sometimes get pretty bad anxiety so would prefer ones where I wouldn't come into contact with actual humans. Thanks!
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 109 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you knit/crochet or are willing to learn, you can make octopuses for premature babies. They are simple but have a tremendous effect on babies' well-being. My now-grown boys were premature and although they did not have these back then, there were other such gifts, and I remain grateful 20+ years later to the kind, anonymous people who shared their time and skills and love to ease my lambs' rough start in life.
posted by headnsouth at 6:08 AM on March 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

Best answer: If you are a history buff, you could sign up to be a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and transcribe old diaries and log books and things online.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:58 AM on March 7, 2018 [18 favorites]

Best answer: There are a good chunk of interesting transcription projects up on Zooniverse. Not all are from libraries. You might find one that is up your alley such as SCOTUS notes, Old Weather or Anti-Slavery Manuscripts. All data gathered by these projects becomes available to the public. No human contact!

The National Library for the Blind (in the US) gets its books from a number of places, you can look at the state near you and see if they accept readers. Some human contact, but not much.

Be My Eyes is a bit more interactive but you can help people with low or no vision do small tasks which require sight.

Librivox is another project I like, reading public domain books aloud for visually disabled, or anyone else. No human interaction once you get started.
posted by jessamyn at 7:01 AM on March 7, 2018 [18 favorites]

Best answer: I know you said who can't see or hear, but what about those who can't speak? Here's one for that:
posted by Grither at 7:54 AM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Another audiobook production service: Learning Ally. They record audiobooks of textbooks and similar works (like philosophy books) for students who struggle with reading so they can keep making progress in school.
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 8:05 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Distributed Proofreaders proofreads and formats scanned books that are then available through Project Gutenberg. Part of the point is to correct and regularize the texts so that assisstive technology works better on it. No human interaction needed, and you can do a page at a time.
posted by clew at 10:48 AM on March 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I have done a lot of transcription for Smithsonian. and also Family Search. Transcribing Phyllis Diller's huge number of index cards for the Smithsonian was enormous fun. The genealogists of the world are deeply grateful for the many volunteers who index records of all kinds and who take photographs of graves and so on.

My state also has volunteers who transcribe and index for the State Archives, which is another possibility.

I have a terrible voice for audio recordings, otherwise I would consider that.
posted by Altomentis at 10:53 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can help the deaf community by joining the Citizen Captioning Advocates. They need people to help caption video and audio recordings. http://ccacaptioning.org/
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:40 PM on March 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Although it only reaches targets indirectly, you can join TED Translators to translate Talks that you feel deserve a wider audience. (They're organised via DotSub).
posted by progosk at 8:33 AM on March 8, 2018

Best answer: Seconding reading for Librivox.

The New York Public Library has a project transcribing historical menus & geotagging them.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:05 AM on March 9, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Bookshare.org produces accessible e-books for the blind and otherwise print-disabled, and needs volunteers for scanning, proofreading, and describing images and charts.
posted by Soliloquy at 11:45 AM on March 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

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