Historical Marker Milestone

Yesterday we reached a milestone at HMDB:

It has taken 567 volunteers 3 years and 8 months to upload, transcribe, embellish, and edit 20 thousand web pages, one for each marker entered into the database. That is a lot of hard work and thousands and thousands of hours! Interesting, facinating and satisfying hours, say I and everyone else I ask.

The 20,000th marker was added last night by Contributing Editor F. Robby of Baltimore Maryland and is entitled Benjamin Welch Owens, CSA. It was his 435th marker. He’s been adding markers to the database for almost two years. Congratulations!

Of the 20,000 marker entries, 6,456 are tagged for the Civil War category.  So if you select the “random marker” link (three buttons below the search button on HMDB), roughly every third entry is related to the Civil War.  Now since myself and many of my fellow contributors are “into the Civil War” somewhat, that plays into the high count.  But also because the states of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Georgia have received much attention from us marker hunters, there’s a lot of Civil War sites covered.   Another explanation for the high representation of the Civil War in the database would be the war was THE watershed event in American history.  Thus the high number of Civil War markers might be due to the emphasis placed on the event by the general public.

Thus it may be fitting that a Civil War themed marker entry was number 20,000.

The statistic that I like, how ever, is the “behind the numbers” lines.  Of the 20,024 markers in the system today, those are supported by 73,958 photos and 21,905 links.  Broken down, marker entries average 3.5 supporting photos and one link to more information.  Thus the majority of markers are not just close ups of the text and some location data.  There’s real content there to include photos of something related to the topic (a house, a field, a road, a person).  And the page is not a dead end to those looking for information, generally speaking.

But the number I am most impressed by is the 795 individuals who have participated, by entering a marker entry, photo, link, or comment. Many of these folks put in long hours of their spare time to find the items, then sit in front of the computer to enter them.

One part hobby, and one part digital history.