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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Digital Archives has a new cache of images of scientific instruments that have been used to take measurements--such as quantities of sugar and electrical voltage--over the years. It's also published historical documentation about the history and creation of most of the instruments, putting their use into historical context. However, some of the instruments are unidentified and lack documentation, and NIST is asking people to help figure out what they are, the archive's librarian said. "We have some artifacts in our collection we want to identify, so we thought we could exhibit them online and ask for help," says NIST Digital Services Librarian Regina Avila. For instance, one of the objects is simply called metal instrument in a wood case" and looks like a brass-colored crank. Others are identified but could use more descriptive information, which people are free to suggest for the archive, the agency said. NIST currently has photos of 137 artifacts on the site and plans to add hundreds more in the coming months, it said.

NIST Crowdsources Historical Artifact Identification

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