First workshop, May 2012

The project’s first workshop was held on May 28th and 29th at KCL.

List of Participants

The following key questions were identified:

  • How do we address the supposed dichotomy of professionalism “versus” amateurism? How should the two spheres interact?
  • How do we cross the ‘digital divide’? We must avoid assuming that everyone who may wish to contribute to a crowd-sourcing project has unlimited internet access.
  • What types of question are particularly amenable to crowd sourcing approaches
  • Does crowd-sourcing best address closed or open ended questions?
  • What motivates people to contribute?
  • How do motivations vary with different types of activity?
  • How do we (as researchers) capture and document motivations? This has been tried before in several projects, but approaches are tailored to particular types of contributor community.
  • How can funders collaborate with researchers in getting the most out of academic crowd-sourcing?
  • Issues of data quality are extremely important – how can we ensure quality, and what does quality mean?
  • How can crowd-sourcing projects, and the data they create, be sustained? How do we preserve the effort people have put in?

Position papers and slides of the presenters:

Nick Stanhope, HistoryPin:  position paper; presentation

Kimberly Kowal, British Library
British Library Georeferencer: Crowdsourcing Map Data
position paper; presentation

Tim Causer, UCL
Transcribe Bentham: A Participatory Initiative
position paper; presentation

Philip Brohan, Met Office
New Uses for Old Weather
position paper

Stella Wisdom and Andrew Gray, British Library
Crowd-Sourcing Activities at the British Library

Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute
Shakespeare’s Global Communities
position paper

Anthony Masinton, Archaeology Data Service
Human Guinea Pigs and Casual Collaborators: Crowd Sourcing Data for Archaeology
position paper; presentation


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Delicious and mailing list

We are gathering links relevant to humanities crowd sourcing on a Delicious stack: , and would be happy to know of any URLs not listed that should be added.

Also, along with colleagues from the British Library, we have recently started a crowd sourcing discussion group: see where it goes from there.

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Questions to be addressed at May workshop

In our first networking meeting to be held in May, the following questions concerning humanities projects involved with crowd sourcing will be addressed:
* What are the objectives and/or research area of your project(s)?

* How many contributors are engaged in your project? Has this number changed over the course of the project?

* What does ‘engagement’ mean in that context?

* Do you offer incentives (e.g. a ranking system, prestige, recognition, material rewards etc) to your contributors? If not, what interests motivate them?

* What value has crowd sourcing bought to your content/project? Is this value measurable?

* What do you consider to be the main research outputs that crowd sourcing has enabled (or will enable)?

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