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Crowdsourcing as productive engagement with cultural heritage

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My keynote for the iSay conference "The Shape of Things"

My notes from the conference are at

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Crowdsourcing as productive engagement with cultural heritage

  1. 1. The gift that gives twice: crowdsourcing as productiveengagement with cultural heritage Mia Ridge, Open University @mia_outThe Shape of Things: New and emerging technology-enabled models of participation through VGC
  2. 2. About me Tool from
  3. 3. What is crowdsourcing? the spare processing power of millions of human brainsNational Library NZ on The Commons
  4. 4. Crowdsourcing and related terms The Library of Congress
  5. 5. What’s VGC, what’s crowdsourcing? When there’s no clearly defined direction, shared goal or research question?Smithsonian Institution Archives,
  6. 6. Participatory project modelsContributory  the public contributes data to a project designed by the organisationCollaborative  both active partners, but lead by organisationCo-creative  all partners define goals togetherCenter for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE)
  7. 7. But who really has agency?"I participate, you participate, he participates, we participate, you participate...theyprofit.“ (1968) Via A Ladder of Citizen Participation - Sherry R Arnstein
  8. 8. The ethics of crowdsourcing
  9. 9. Crowdsourcing in GLAMs (GLAMs: galleries, libraries, museums, archives)Cornell University Library
  10. 10. Why crowdsourcing in GLAMs? Cornell University Library
  11. 11. Who participates in crowdsourcing? UW Digital Collections
  12. 12. Super-contributors and drive-bys‘16,400 little boxes – one for each person who’s contributed to oldWeather. The area of each box isproportional to the number of pages transcribed, between us all we’ve done 1,090,745 pages.’
  13. 13. Crowdsourcing before the web• 19th Century natural history collecting• 1849 Smithsonian meteorological observation project• 1857, 1879 Oxford English Dictionary• WWII Soldiers given a Field Collector’s Manual in Natural History by the US Museum of Natural History James Murray, editor, OED, with contributor slips
  14. 14. Productive process and outcomes The Library of Congress
  15. 15. ReCAPTCHA
  16. 16. National Library of Australia: Trove
  17. 17. Trove Over 85 million lines of text corrected, 1.9 million tags; 50k comments, 82k registered users
  18. 18. FamilySearch 2012 Statistics Total records indexed: 534,108,416 Total records arbitrated: 263,254,447 Total volunteers contributing: 348,796 Total estimated hours contributed: 12,764,859 On “5 Million Name Fame” event day, July 2012: Indexed Records: 7,258,151 Arbitrated Records: 3,082,728 Total Records Worked: 10,340,879 Volunteers participating: 46,091.
  19. 19. …indexing goes mobile
  20. 20. DigitalkootLess than two years,almost 110,000participantscompleted over 8million word fixingtasks
  21. 21. Transcribe Bentham
  22. 22. Old Weather
  23. 23. NYPL Whats on the Menu?
  24. 24. NYPL Whats on the Menu? 1,156,841 dishes transcribed from 16,243 menus
  25. 25. NYPL Whats on the Menu?
  26. 26. Reading Experience Database
  27. 27. British Library Georeferencer Georeferencer: Crowdsourced Georeferencing for Map Library Collections
  28. 28. Types of content • Links between content (relationships) • Ratings/Votes • Tags • Corrections • Transcriptions • Descriptions • Spatial coordinatesTyne & Wear Archives & Museums
  29. 29. Types of content • Images, multimedia • Game levels • Research • Object identification • Family records • Objects, documents • Personal experiences, memoriesTyne & Wear Archives & Museums
  30. 30. Tasks in crowdsourcing• Tagging (subjective, personal, factua l)• Transcription (including OCR correction)• Moderating (debunking, flagging for review)• Writing personal stories or memories• Linking, relationships• Stating preferences• Categorising• Geo-locating UW Digital Collections• Creative responses
  31. 31. Productive engagementState Archives of North Carolina
  32. 32. Engagement1. attending2. participating3. deciding4. producing‘Department for Culture Media and Sport The U.S. National Archives Culture and Sport Evidence, 2011
  33. 33. Levels of Engagement in citizen science• Level 1: participating in simple classification tasks• Level 2: participating in community discussion• Level 3: working independently on self- identified research projects’(Raddick et al, 2009) State Library of Queensland, Australia
  34. 34. Crowdsourcing as gateway to further activity
  35. 35. FamilySearch ‘stepping stones’• Indexing as ‘introductory, family history education’ including: – Knowledge about Record Types – Genealogical Information – Handwriting Practice• From indexing, can move to arbitration – Invited after transcribing 2,000 records if 94% accuracy or higher
  36. 36. Crowdsourcing and motivations for participation Powerhouse Museum Collection
  37. 37. Motivations for participation• Altruistic – helping to provide an accurate record of local history• Intrinsic – reading 18thC handwriting is an enjoyable puzzle• Extrinsic – an academic collecting a quote from a primary source
  38. 38. Extrinsic motivations
  39. 39. Altruism
  40. 40. Intrinsic motivations• fun• the pleasure in doing hobbies• the enjoyment in learning• mastering new skills, practicing existing skills• recognition• community• passion for the subject State Library of Queensland, Australia
  41. 41. Intrinsic motivationsPeople crave:• satisfying work to do• the experience of being good at something• time spent with people we like• the chance to be a part of something bigger(Jane McGonigal, 2009) State Library of New South Wales collection
  42. 42. Crowdsourcing in cultural heritage• Fun, challenging tasks• Interesting subjects• Interfaces and community provide scaffolding• Lots of content for museums The U.S. National Archives
  43. 43. Crowdsourcing in cultural heritage: doubly productive
  44. 44. Conclusion: everybody winsNational Library of Ireland on The Commons
  45. 45. Thank you!Questions?Mia RidgeOpen University The Library of Congress