My Agoda Story: Minyoung Lee on transcribing documents for the Smithsonian library

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There are many ways of giving back to the community and volunteering virtually is one of them. Agoda recently launched Benevity, an internal platform for giving back, where our employees can search for volunteering and donation opportunities and take action.

We chatted with Minyoung Lee, a Market Manager based in Tokyo, about her virtual volunteering experience.

Why did you choose to volunteer virtually?

Due to the global pandemic, it was not easy to pick an on-site volunteering opportunity but I wanted to do something and feel connected to a wider cause during this period. I was happy to discover that our internal give back portal also offered several virtual volunteering activities and I chose to transcribe documents for the Smithsonian library. I’ve always loved libraries and old books so this was a perfect opportunity. Additionally, you don’t need a specific skill set for this activity – anyone can do it provided you can read and type.

The beauty of volunteering virtually for this project is that it gives me a lot of flexibility. I couldn’t commit to specific time but with this activity I can volunteer for 15 minutes or 2 hours, once a week or thrice a month! Once you stop your transcription, someone else from the community picks it up – so you really feel part of a community.

Describe your volunteering activity

For this activity, you are part of a digital community that transcribes historical information to make it accessible to a wider audience. Before I started to transcribe, I went through a guideline that is shared on the website. I also referenced this often once I start transcribing in order to follow the appropriate rules for different types of content, like images or symbols.

There are diverse topics available for transcribing, ranging from 19th century newspaper articles to handwritten notes on chemical experiments. I recently transcribed an advertisement for steamboats running on the Mississippi river and can tell you the schedule of the steamboat along with the stops it made! I’ve picked up a lot of trivia – it would definitely be useful for the next quiz competition!

I really enjoy this volunteering activity a lot and if you love reading, you should join me! Here’s the link to volunteer for this project.

Agoda is proud to support our employees who want to give back to their communities. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to hear more about more exciting ways Agodans give back.