Heritage Helpers
How can I register with Heritage Helpers?

Anyone who wishes to can create an account via the ‘Sign in’ key (top right of the page). Experience is not necessary. To sign in only your e-mail address, name and a chosen display name are obligatory. On the website you will just be known by your display name, so it is possible to index anonymously.

Which browser (Internet application) can I use?

Heritage Helpers will work with the most common browsers. We recommend using Firefox or Google Chrome. Internet Explorer will work too, but from verion 9 and higher. Internet Explorer version 8 is not supported.

It's best to update you browser to the latetst version. 

How can I ask for help with data entry?

If you have questions about a project, you can visit the ‘Messages page’ for that project. In order to answer a question you need to be logged in. You will find a Messages tab on the project page for each project. The messages are divided into 3 categories:

  • Notifications: These are the news articles from the project manager. You can reply here, but you cannot create a notification yourself. The news articles are important for all the latest news regarding your project.
  • Questions: This is where you can ask a question. You can also see other people's questions and answers. If you know the answer to a question, you can of course reply. If you wish to ask a question, click on the blue key 'Post message'.
  • Tips: This is where participants from a project give each other tips. You can reply here. If you have a tip to share you can create a message. If you want to create a tip click on the blue key ‘Post message’.

On your personal page you can see all the messages that have been created since you were last logged in. You can find this by clicking on your name at the top right hand corner. You will then come to the ‘My Profile’ page. If you click on the Messages tab, you will see the messages since you were last logged in. You can only see the messages from projects which you are participating in. You can see the messages regarding projects which you are not involved in on the project page for the relevant project.

What is Heritage Helpers?

Heritage Helpers is an online platform in which archives and museums can put forward scans or photos, so that the 'crowd', the general public, can make these more accessible. Heritage Helpers is an initiative of Amsterdam City Archives; the platform has been built and is maintained by Picturae.

How does Heritage Helpers work?

Anybody who wants to can sign in to Heritage Helpers for free. Each user has their own profile page and can index scans. As a recompense for indexing scans, credits may be given. What you can do with these credits depends on the project. More information about this can be found on the project page of the relevant project. This is available via "Projects" on the menu.

Archives who wish to have archive documents indexed, tagged, selected or linked can contact Picturae using the email address info@heritagehelpers.co.uk

How can I sign in via a third party?

If you create an account on Heritage Helpers you can specify an e-mail address yourself and invent your own password. If you have an account with, for example, Google or Facebook, you can also sign in to that account with Heritage Helpers. Heritage Helpers supports the following websites for this purpose:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo
  • Twitter
  • OpenID

In this way you have fewer different password combinations to remember, and if you are logged in on the external website, you do not need to fill in your password again if you log in to Heritage Helpers. Your password will not be passed on to Heritage Helpers from the external website.

To sign in via a third party you simply go to log in, and click on the icons from the site which you wish to log in (Facebook, Google, etc.). You will then automatically be signed in to Heritage Helpers. The first time that you log in via the external site, you will be asked to fill in several fields for your Heritage Helpers account.

The technology that makes it possible to log in via a different website is called OpenID. This is a web protocol which is used more and more. Below are two links with more information about OpenID.

How can I adjust my profile information?

You can adjust the information on your profile yourself. When you log in, you come to the 'dashboard page'. There you will find a blue 'Profile adjustment' key in de brown/orange bar under your profile photo and display name. If you click here, your information will appear and you can save the changes. You can also change your e-mail address and password.

I am logged in via a third party and want to change my password. Is that possible?

Yes, that's possible, but you have to do it on the website in which you originally registered your account, for example Facebook, Twitter or Google.

Only those passwords which were originally created on Heritage Helpers can be changed here.

Why do I have to fill in personal data when I create an account?

Not everybody likes the idea of sharing private data in an account on the internet. In our opinion everybody has a right to privacy, including online. For that reason the personal data that you fill in on your account such as date of birth or place of residence are not obligatory. If you fill them in they will be shown on the participant's page, so that others can see who else they are working with, but you can also leave them blank. Anyone who wishes to work anonymously can chose a display name for themselves. A valid e-mail address is a requirement in order to be able to participate in Heritage Helpers. We use it to keep you up to date with the news (if you wish) or if there is a problem with your account. The e-mail address is not shown on website and is only visible to the managers.

How can I recieve or cancel the newsletter?

When you register at Heritage Helpers you can check the option if you would like to recieve the newsletter. It's also possible to change this later. Go to your profile page by clicking your name on the top right on the screen. Click "Edit profile" and on the page that follows, you will be able to check or uncheck the option to recieve the newsletter. 

Data entry and validation
How can I get rid of the white boxes from the image of the viewer? (Incl. useful keyboard shortcut combinations)

In the viewer there are a number of hidden functions which may accidentally switch on shortcuts . The most common:

  • White boxes (so called hotspots) can appear in the image. You can get rid of these by first clicking on the scan in the viewer and then pressing the letter L.
  • The scan in the viewer is sideways. You can resolve this by first clicking on the scan in the viewer and then pressing [ .


A comprehensive overview of all the shortcuts in the Heritage Helpers viewer follows:

Basic keyboard section

 move up * 
 move down *
→   move right *
←   move left *
H  hand tool, click and drag to move the image
Z  zoom tool
 selection tool
 zoom out
 zoom in
 zoom fit
/  zoom 100%
[  rotate the scan 90 degrees anti-clockwise
]  rotate the scan 90 degrees clockwise
\  rotate the scan 180 degrees
F/ESC  full screen on/off
 N  navigator show/hide
 C  colour adjustment show/hide
 L  hotspots show/hide

Numeric keyboard section

/ zoom 100%
* zoom fit
- zoom out
+ zoom in
8 move up *
2 move down *
6 move right *
4 move left *
5 centre

* If you press the CTRL key it goes at a lower speed, if you press the SHIFT key it goes at a higher speed.
Keys can be combined to move the image diagonally.

What should I do if the page doesn't load?

It is possible that the page with the scan may load slowly, or not at all, and the image remain grey. In this case you can press the Ctrl + F5 keys simultaneously. If you are working on a Mac, press cmd+R. The page will then be refreshed and the scan will appear.

How do I start the data entry?

You can join the project you would like to work on. When you joined, you will enter the project page where you will find the information about the project. You will also find the instruction how the data entry should be done for that project. You are advised to read the instructions carefully. When you are familiar with the instructions, you can press the button "Data entry" to start working on the project. 

The regular instructions about working on Heritage Helpers and how to use the functions, can be read in the manual. You can find this on the help page. On the right side of the page you can press "Download Manual". In the manual, Heritage Helpers will be explained step by step.

When do I use the Report participant button?

When a validator notices that a participant keeps making the same mistakes, the Report button can be used. A screen appears to fill in the reason why the participant is being reported. For example: "This participant always forgets the date of birth". The project administrator can see this message and also who the user is. The project administrator can choose to send an e-mail to the participant, explaining what they are expected to fill in. 

When do I use the "Noteworthy" button?

With the "Noteworthy" button it is possible to send a message to the project administrator. It could be regarding a famous person on the scan, or a special event; anything that is noteworthy! The project administrator can choose what will be done with this information. They can use it as extra information on their database, choose to post it on the forum as a remarkable find or adjust the data. 

When do I use the "Unusable" button?

It could happen that a scan will appear on your screen which has no data on it. It could be a cover of a book, an empty page or a page that is damaged and can't be read. When you press the "Unusable" button a screen will appear where you can fill in the reason why it is unusable. After pressing the "Finalize" button, you will be presented with a new scan.

When do I use the "Too difficult" button?

When a scan is too difficult to read, you can use the 'Too difficult' button. The scan will be marked as 'too difficult' and you will get a new scan. The scan will also be presented to two other participants. If they also mark it as 'too difficult', it won't be presented again. The project administrator can take a look at it in the background of Heritage Helpers. 

How can you become a validator?

As in order to validate within Heritage Helpers some experience is necessary, at the beginning of the project usually only project leaders or members who have experience of data entry on Heritage Helpers are deployed as validators. If extra validators are necessary, an appeal will be made in a news article and/or as a notification on the project page of the relevant project.

Can I enter data if I am not signed in/logged in?

It is not possible to index without an account. It is only possible to enter data on the index example.

Earning and redeeming credits
How many credits will I get when I am given these credits?

The number of credits that you earn depends on the project. You can see this on the project page for the relevant project. The credits that you earn from entering data are added to your account directly. You can see this on your personal page. After your scan has been validated, extra credits may be added. This can take time, depending on the number of validators relative to the number of data entry participants within a project.

What can I do with the credits I have earned?

On the project page for the relevant project you can find what you can do with the credits you have earned. This varies per project. You can usually use the credits to look at and download scans.

How do I make a coupon?

We leave it up to you to decide how many credits you wish to turn into coupons, as the number of credits required can differ per project and per product. You can turn credits into coupons by going to your profile page and clicking on the ‘credits overview’ tab or ‘credits’. You can go there directly by clicking here. On this page you can click on ‘more’ next to the project for which you have received credits. When you have clicked on ‘more’ you can enter the desired number of credits you recieved and click on 'make'. 

Can I cancel coupons?

It is not possible to cancel coupons yourself. It is relatively unusual that it is necessary to cancel a coupon, so we have no problem in sorting that out for you. If you have created a coupon by mistake, you can send an e-mail to info@velehanden.nl.

Can I redeem credits with project A, that I earned with project B?

It is not possible to redeem points in one project, that are earned in another project. Collecting credits in projects is a feature we build in so institutions can give out credits to reward the participants and thank them for their efforts. Each institute may indicate their own interpretation. How many credits are needed for a product or service, depends on the institute. 

Data entry and checking
If I do not index for a while, will my work be saved?

The data from the scan that you are working on will be kept for 48 hours, even when you have logged out. After 48 hours the data will be deleted and the scan distributed to another Heritage Helpers participant. This is to avoid scans being 'forgotten' and never actually being submitted. Scans which you have submitted will of course be saved.

Most of the projects will keep the scan for 48 hours. But there could be some projects where this will be longer. You can find this information in the project information. 

How can I get rid of grey areas on the scan in the viewer?

It takes time for a scan to load in the viewer. Sometimes the scan does not download completely and grey areas appear on the scan. This happens mostly with slow internet connections. In that case the best thing to do is click on "Save". The scan will then be reloaded.

How is the data entry validated?

The way in which data entry and validation are carried out can depend on the project. For many projects all the data is entered twice. This means that each scan is distributed twice, whereupon the entered data is automatically compared. If there is a difference, the scan will be distributed a third time, but this time to a validator who decides which version is final.

If you wish to know how this works for the project you are participating in, you can find it on the project page, via the menu option "Projects".

Can I choose for myself which scan I am going to index?

You can choose which project you want to participate in. Within each project the scans are randomly distributed and you can not choose to work on a specific scan. It is, however, possible to give a preference for a certain type of scan. For example if you only wish to enter data for a specific project or a certain region. The choices you can make depend on the project. If your chosen project has provisions for preferences for the data entry participant or validator you will see the ‘Preferences’ tab on the project page. Here you can indicate and save your preferences. These preferences can be changed at any time.

Can I improve my own entered data?

It is not possible to improve scans that you have indexed. This would mean that we would have to leave scans open for all the data entry participants, which would cause delay. If you do make a mistake, however, it isn't a big problem; it will come to light when the scans are validated.

Other questions
Is your question not on the help page?

Have you not been able to find the answer to your question? Try the messages page for the relevant project. Your question may already have been asked here. You can also consult the Heritage Helpers Instruction Manual which can be found on the right hand side of the help page. Clicking on the blue key ‘Download instruction manual’ opens the instruction manual which gives a step by step explanation of Heritage Helpers.

Have you still not been able to find the answer to your question, or do you have another question? Send it to info@heritagehelpers.co.uk and your question will be dealt with within three working days.