If you read my post on the Smithsonian Digital Volunteering opportunities then you know I’m all for feeling like I’ve contributed to something instead of being otherwise bored at home staring at the computer or tv.
The new website I discovered is called Zooniverse and it is a platform where volunteers can assist with professional research being done around the globe. The researchers create a “workflow” which is a specific set of data, usually photos of something or another, all listed under the research project. So you browse the projects for ones that look interesting to you, go to that projects page where you can read a bit more about the research being done, and then enter one of their workflows.
Upon entering you will go through a tutorial to learn about what exactly they want you to do (identify species, outline parts of photos, watch video clips, etc.) and from there you follow along and get started.
Some are more difficult than others and take a bit more work and learning. But so far I have had fun counting burrowing owls, assessing beluga whale photos, identifying white blood cells in Macaque monkeys, and more. If you enjoy citizen science, then this is one for you.
Also, if you enjoyed my post about Project Gutenberg you may be pleased to find out they take on volunteers as well. Mostly proofreading pages after they have been put through transcription programs. It is part of their process to create the eBooks. The website is a bit older and you are required to register, so just know that going in. If you want to check it out you can find them at Distributed Proofreaders.