Digital Archiving Resources

The Crowd and the Library: The Agony and the Ecstasy of "Crowdsourcing" our Cultural Heritage

Title

The Crowd and the Library: The Agony and the Ecstasy of "Crowdsourcing" our Cultural Heritage

Subject

Archives

Description

Author and archivist, Trevor Owens, discusses a wide range of issues relating to digital archives and preservation. In this blog, he describes crowdsourcing and offers a rationale for soliciting "citizen archivists" to contribute content to large digital cultural heritage collections. He develops four concepts for assessing the types of crowdsourcing needed: human computation, wisdom of crowds, software tools for scaffolding amateur contributions, and tapping into the public's motivation for contributing to the archive. He expounds on each concept and provides key questions digital archivists may pose before potential crowdsourcers. Several examples of successful crowdsourced digitial collections and links for further reading are included in the blog.

Owens is also suspicious of corporate sponsored crowdsourcing projects, such as Google's "Image Labeler," or Amazon's "Mechanical Turk." The amount of labor invested in completing the digital tasks for these sites may be exploitative, yet Owens also acknowledges that these types of interaction provide models for implementing crowdsourcing for more humane projects. His list of four concepts accompanied by key questions establishes a criteria for successful crowdsourcing and prevents the project from devolving into a "digital sweatshop."

Creator

Owens, Trevor

Publisher

WordPress

Date

2012-05-20

Contributor

Polk, Victoria

Type

Document

Bibliographic Citation

Owens, Trevor. "The Crowd and the Library." Trevor OwensL User-centered Digital History (blog), May 20, 2012. http://http://www.trevorowens.org/2012/05/the-crowd-and-the-library/.

Files

Item119.jpg

Citation

Owens, Trevor, “The Crowd and the Library: The Agony and the Ecstasy of "Crowdsourcing" our Cultural Heritage,” Digital Archiving Resources, accessed September 25, 2017, http://dar.cah.ucf.edu/items/show/119.