Seminar: ‘Citizen History and its discontents’, Institute of Historical Research Digital History seminar

I was invited to give a talk on my work in the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) Seminar in Digital History series.  I talked about ‘Citizen History and its discontents':

‘An increasing number of crowdsourcing projects are making claims about ‘citizen history’ – but are they really helping people become historians, or are they overstating their contribution? Can citizen history projects succeed without communities of experts and peers to nurture sparks of historical curiosity and support novice historians in learning the skills of the discipline? Through a series of case studies this paper offers a critical examination of claims around citizen history.’

The video and slides are linked from the IHR Seminar in Digital History site.

Seminar: ‘Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies’

The Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA) organised an online seminar on Crowdsourcing 101: Fundamentals and Case Studies. I was invited to present an overview of ‘fundamentals’ in crowdsourcing in cultural heritage, including examples of successful projects, typical data input and output types, common tasks, and ways to think motivations for participation and levels of engagement. From the OCLC’s page:

This webinar will explore crowdsourcing techniques used increasingly by organizations and institutions seeking to gather vast amounts of new knowledge and participation from online contributors.

Crowdsourcing techniques are increasingly being utilized by organizations and institutions—including libraries and museums—seeking to gather vast amounts of new knowledge and participation from online contributors. In this fast-paced hour-long introduction, you’ll get a handle on “Crowdsourcing Fundamentals” from leading voice in the field Mia Ridge, along with first-person accounts from two exemplar crowdsourcing projects (NYPL, Zooniverse). Learn the basics about implementing crowdsourcing techniques, securing funding, engaging users, and assessing the quality of crowdsourced data, as well as the advantages and challenges of utilizing crowdsourcing.

This webinar is part of the newly formed Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA). Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the goal of CCLA is to forge national/international partnerships to advance the use of crowdsourcing technologies, tools, user experiences, and platforms to help libraries, museums, archives, and more.’

Slides, video and chat notes are available on the OCLC’s page.

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

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.

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.

VALA 2014 Keynote: Open Objects: ‘Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations’

In February 2014 I was invited to Melbourne to give a keynote on ‘GLAM making’ at VALA2014 (VALA – Libraries, Technology and the Future). I’ve shared my slides and a storify of tweets from my session at Open Objects: ‘Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations’ at VALA 2014.

Article: ‘From tagging to theorizing: deepening engagement with cultural heritage through crowdsourcing’

Peer-reviewed article ‘From tagging to theorizing: deepening engagement with cultural heritage through crowdsourcing’ published in Curator journal

Ridge, Mia (2013). From tagging to theorizing: deepening engagement with cultural heritage through crowdsourcing. Curator: The Museum Journal, 56(4) pp. 435–450.

Proof copy available at http://oro.open.ac.uk/39117/.

Abstract: Crowdsourcing, or “obtaining information or services by soliciting input from a large number of people,” is becoming known for the impressive productivity of projects that ask the public to help transcribe, describe, locate, or categorize cultural heritage resources. This essay argues that crowdsourcing projects can also be a powerful platform for audience engagement with museums, offering truly deep and valuable connection with cultural heritage through online collaboration around shared goals or resources. It includes examples of well-designed crowdsourcing projects that provide platforms for deepening involvement with citizen history and citizen science; useful definitions of “engagement”; and evidence for why some activities help audiences interact with heritage and scientific material. It discusses projects with committed participants and considers the role of communities of participants in engaging participants more deeply.

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

Guest post ‘Tips for digital participation, engagement and crowdsourcing in museums’ for London Museums Group

I was asked to share some of the lessons I’ve learnt from building digital participation projects in museums and from my research on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage for the London Museums Group blog following my talk at their “Museums and Social Media” event on 24 May at Tate Britain.

They’ve now been published at ‘Tips for digital participation, engagement and crowdsourcing in museums | by Mia Ridge‘.

To pinch from my headings, I discuss the advantages of digital engagement; challenges for museums | new relationships, new authorities, dissolving boundaries; 6 tips for designing digital participation experiences in museums; 2 bonus tips for designing crowdsourcing projects in museums.

There are other event reports at A round up of the LMG Museums and Social Media Event.

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

Keynote: Participatory Practices: Inclusion, Dialogue and Trust

Pavillion 0 at the Sigma Foundation's palazzo on Campo San Paolo, VeniceI was invited to present with Helen Weinstein at the We Curate kick-off seminar at the Pavillion 0 at the Sigma Foundation’s palazzo on the opening weekend of the Venice Biennale. Our slides for Participatory practices: inclusion, dialogue and trust in museums and academia are online, and I blogged about our talk and the event for Historyworkstv: Participatory Practice Presentation at the Venice Biennale.

Talk: ‘Digital challenges, digital opportunities’ at MCG Play

MCG Play logoAs Chair of the Museums Computer Group, it was a pleasure to attend the MCG’s Spring meeting, ‘Engaging Visitors Through Play‘, at the University of Ulster’s Centre for Media Research in Belfast on May 30.

I spoke on ‘Digital challenges, digital opportunities’, and my aim was to introduce the Museums Computer Group, discuss some of the challenges museums and their staff are facing and think about how to create opportunities from those challenges.  I’ve posted my notes at ‘Digital challenges, digital opportunities’ at MCGPlay, Belfast.

I blogged about the event at ‘Engaging Visitors Through Play’ – the Museums Computer Group in Belfast and my post was picked up and re-posted as a guest post, ‘Game on’, for the Museums Association blog.