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
Who says scholarship can’t be playful? Serendip-o-matic is a “serendipity engine” 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.
I was interviewed for the Microtask crowdsourcing blog. Their abstract:
Culture heritage technologist Mia Ridge is a champion of crowdsourced museum gaming. Mia has worked as a developer for several world-class museums and is now writing her PhD on crowdsourcing digital heritage. She describes games as the “participation engine” of crowdsourcing.
Taking time out from her busy speaking schedule, Mia told us how and why museums should be raising their game…
A presentation for the International Training Programme run by the British Museum for museum professionals from around the world. This is based on a presentation I prepared for OpenCulture 2011, but includes additional material on mobile phones/devices including the ‘Hidden Histories’ pilot.
A presentation called ‘Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums’ for MuseumNext in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 26, 27th. The link to my slides was retweeted so much the slides made it onto the front page of slideshare, which was especially nice as I’d had a lot of fun making the presentation interesting enough to combat the post-lunch slot and to help non-tech/game people stay engaged for the whole talk.
The book ‘Museums At Play: Games, Interaction and Learning‘ is edited by freelance strategist Katy Beale and published by MuseumsEtc. My chapter, ‘Crowdsourcing games: playing with museums’ discusses the power of crowdsourcing games and the participation economy, possible new relationships with audiences and new types of engagement with objects, and the potential for an ecosystem of museum games based around collections.
Abstract: Crowdsourcing the creation, correction or enhancement of data about objects through games is an attractive proposition for museums looking to maximize use of their collections online without committing intensive curatorial resources to enhancing catalogue records. This paper investigates the optimum game designs to encourage participation and the generation of useful data through a case study of the project Museum Metadata Games that successfully designed games that created improved metadata for ‘difficult’ objects from two science and history museum collections.
For more information, see the page about my MSc Dissertation: crowdsourcing games for museums. The beta games I made are hosted at Museum Metadata Games (and have recently been updated to include some of the million images the British Library have released on Flickr Commons). The initial data was loaded from APIs from the Science Museum and Powerhouse Museum.