Panel: Build the Crowdsourcing Community of Your Dreams, SXSW

Panel photo

Having successfully passed the SXSW ‘panel picker’ process, I went to SXSW Interactive 2016 to discuss ‘building the crowdsourcing community of your dreams’ with Ben Brumfield, Meghan Ferriter and Siobhan Leachman (aka @benwbrum, @meghaninmotion and @SiobhanLeachman). We were in the ‘Art, Science, & Inspiration’ track, and while it may have been luck with timing or our title, the venue was standing room only for a while.

Our slides are online, and we put together a list of further resources to tweet during the panel at http://bit.ly/GLAMcrowd.

Siobhan storified our session and also posted her talk notes. She’s such a passionate volunteer, and you couldn’t get a better account of ‘How cultural institutions encouraged me to participate in crowdsourcing & the factors I consider before donating my time‘.

Panel photo
SXSW crowdsourcing panel photo by Effie Kapsalis @digitaleffie

 

If you’re interested in our panel, you might also be interested in the later ‘SXSW 2016 – Give It Away to Get Rich: Open Cultural Heritage‘.

Everything SXSW - lamp posts protected from extreme flyering, pedicabs, sunshine and a lounge
Everything SXSW – lamp posts protected from extreme flyering, pedicabs, sunshine and a lounge

Talk and workshop: Crowdsourcing in the Cultural Sector: approaches, challenges and issues, Glasgow

Slides for the Crowd-sourcing, Co-creation and Co-curation in the Cultural Sector workshop by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation

I was also invited to run a workshop on the basics of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage for a Knowledge Exchange Event, jointly organised by the Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation and the Museums Galleries Scotland Digital Transformation Network. Aimed at cultural heritage professionals, it was a hands-on exploration and exchange of different approaches to crowd-sourcing and co-creation.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum!

Talk: Choosy crowds and the machine age: challenges for the future of humanities crowdsourcing, KCL

I gave a presentation on ‘Choosy crowds and the machine age: challenges for the future of humanities crowdsourcing’ at Kings College London for Citizen Humanities Comes of Age: Crowdsourcing for the Humanities in the 21st Century (9th – 10th). This lead to a co-authored publication, Citizen Humanities Comes of Age: Crowdsourcing for the Humanities in the 21st Century Event Summary.

Some of the points I raised are discussed in ‘How an ecosystem of machine learning and crowdsourcing could help you‘ and ‘Helping us fly? Machine learning and crowdsourcing‘.

Talk: ‘Small ontologies, loosely joined’: linked open data for the First World War, DH2015

I presented a paper, ‘Small ontologies, loosely joined’: linked open data for the First World War, in a panel on Linked Open Data and the First World War at Digital Humanities 2015 (based on my experiences as a Fellow at Trinity College Dublin working on histories of World War One with the CENDARI project).

Keynote: Crowdsourcing our cultural heritage, Nordiske Arkivdage 2015

Photo of the audience arriving at Nordiske Arkivdage 2015
The audience arriving at Nordiske Arkivdage 2015

I was invited to give a keynote on ‘Crowdsourcing our cultural heritage’ at Nordiske Arkivdage 2015 (#NordiskArkiv), a triennial gathering of archivists from Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland in Copenhagen on May 8, 2015. I greatly enjoyed hearing about various crowdsourcing projects that state and city archives in those countries have worked on over the years (and would still love to hear more). My slides are below.

From my introduction:

Today I want to talk about why crowdsourcing creates opportunities for productive, meaningful public engagement with cultural heritage. This isn’t a sales pitch – crowdsourcing is not a ‘magic bullet’ – but I think an investment in crowdsourcing can be repaid with impressive results in the amount of material processed, and in new relationships with our shared cultural heritage in museums, libraries, universities, community groups and archives.

So in the next twenty minutes I will briefly explain what crowdsourcing in cultural heritage is, give you a glimpse of some projects where crowdsourcing has been incredibly productive, and discuss how it can help make collections more accessible while engaging people more deeply in thinking about those collections…

Crowdsourcing in cultural heritage asks the public to help with tasks that contribute to a shared, significant goal or research interest related to cultural heritage collections or knowledge. As a voluntary activity, the tasks and/or goals should be inherently rewarding.

If you’re interested in engagement through crowdsourcing, you might also like From tagging to theorizing: deepening engagement with cultural heritage through crowdsourcing. Curator: The Museum Journal, 56(4) pp. 435–450. If you’re interested in crowdsourcing in cultural heritage generally, try the book! My Introduction to Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage is online.

Keynote: ‘Collaborative collections through a participatory commons’, 2014 National Digital Forum conference

I was delighted to be invited to present at New Zealand’s 2014 National Digital Forum conference in Wellington. I was asked to speak on my work on the ‘participatory commons’. As a focus for explaining the need for a participatory commons, I asked, ‘What could we create if museums, libraries and archives pooled their collections and invited specialists and enthusiasts to help link and enhance their records?’.

As a conceptual framework rather than a literal technical architecture, every bit of clearly licensed content with (ideally) structured data published around it makes a contribution to ‘the commons’. In my keynote I explored some reasons why building tightly-focused projects on top of that content can help motivate participation in crowdsourcing and citizen history, and some reasons why it’s still hard (hint: it needs great content supported by relevant structured data), using my TCD/CENDARI research project on ‘lived experiences of World War One‘ as an example.

The video is now online.

Conference paper: Where is the revolution in citizen history? The place of crowdsourcing in public history

I gave a paper asking ‘Where is the revolution in citizen history? The place of crowdsourcing in public history’ at the IFPH-FIHP International Conference ‘Public History in a Digital World: The Revolution Reconsidered’, in Amsterdam 23-25 October 2014 #IFPH2014.

My paper was based on my PhD research so I won’t share my notes until after I’ve submitted my thesis, but here’s my proposal:

When the term ‘citizen history’ was used in a 2011 blog post about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Children of the Lodz Ghetto project, which asked members of the public to investigate specific tightly defined research questions,[1] it seemed to herald a new participatory movement in public history. Citizen history is the use of digital platforms to distribute, coordinate and validate contributions by members of the public to historic research projects. The complexity of the task and the level of public involvement ranges from simple contributions through crowdsourced observation, transcription or categorisation tasks to independent research on set questions, or even co-defining the research question in co-created projects.[2] Through this active engagement with historical material, some crowdsourcing contributors become citizen historians as they develop an interest in researching the histories of the individuals, events or places they have encountered during participatory tasks.

But despite the promise of crowdsourcing as a form of active engagement with history, this potential revolution in public history may have stalled. Non-heritage sector organisations like Ancestry and FamilySearch are working with museums, archives and libraries to digitise and transcribe records relevant to family historians, and most of the major citizen history projects are based on software created for scientific crowdsourcing, while public history projects seem to follow traditional broadcast and exhibition-based models.

Based on a critical analysis of existing history crowdsourcing and participatory public history projects, this short paper will ask why public history projects are not actively engaging the public in making history.

 

If you found this post useful, you might be interested in my book, Crowdsourcing Our Cultural Heritage.

[1] Elissa Frankle, “More Crowdsourced Scholarship: Citizen History,” Center for the Future of Museums, July 28, 2011,http://futureofmuseums.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-crowdsourced-scholarship-citizen.html

[2] Bonney, Rick, Heidi Ballard, Rebecca Jordan, Ellen McCallie, Tina Phillips, Jenifer Shirk, and Candie C. Wilderman. Public Participation in Scientific Research: Defining the Field and Assessing Its Potential for Informal Science Education. A CAISE Inquiry Group Report. Washington D.C.: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), July 2009. http://caise.insci.org/uploads/docs/PPSR%20report%20FINAL.pdf.

Conference paper: Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

The abstract for our Digital Humanities 2014 conference paper is below. Scott’s posted his notes from the first part, my notes for the middle part How did ‘play’ shape the design and experience of creating Serendip-o-matic? are on Open Objects and Brian’s are to follow.

Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

Amy Papaelias, State University of New York at New Paltz

Brian Croxall, Emory University

Mia Ridge, The Open University

Scott Kleinman, California State University, Northridge

Summary

Who says scholarship can’t be playful? Serendip-o-matic is a “serendipity Feeding the machine animated gifengine” that was created in less than a week by twelve digital humanities scholars, developers, and librarians. Designed to replicate the surprising experience of discovering an unexpected source while browsing library stacks or working in an archive, the visual and algorithmic design of Serendip-o-matic emphasizes playfulness. And since the tool was built by a group of people who were embarking on a difficult task but weren’t yet sure of one another’s names, the process of building Serendip-o-matic was also rather playful, encouraging participants to take risks, make mistakes, and learn something new. In this presentation, we report on how play shaped the creation, design, and marketing of Serendip-o-matic. We conclude by arguing for the benefits of more playful work in academic research and scholarship, as well as considering how such “play” can be evaluated in an academic context.

 

Continue reading “Conference paper: Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic”

Keynote ‘Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons’ at Sharing is Caring

Photo of glider plane against blue sky
Image: Library of Congress

I was invited to Copenhagen to talk about my research on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage at the 3rd international Sharing is Caring seminar on April 1. I’ve posted my notes on Open Objects: Enriching cultural heritage collections through a Participatory Commons platform: a provocation about collaborating with users.

Much of this comes from my PhD research and my previous work in museums, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s commented in person or on twitter so far, particularly as it helps me understand the best ways to explain the Participatory Commons and the research underlying it for different audiences.