Chapter: ‘The contributions of family and local historians to British history online’

Participatory Heritage, edited by Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland, has just been published by Facet.

My chapter is ‘The contributions of family and local historians to British history online‘. My abstract:

Community history projects across Britain have collected and created images, indexes and transcriptions of historical documents ranging from newspaper articles and photographs, to wills and biographical records. Based on analysis of community- and institutionally-led participatory history sites, and interviews with family and local historians, this chapter discusses common models for projects in which community historians cooperated to create digital resources. For decades, family and local historians have organised or contributed to projects to collect, digitise and publish historical sources about British history. What drives amateur historians to voluntarily spend their time digitising cultural heritage? How do they cooperatively or collaboratively create resources? And what challenges do they face?

Mia Ridge is a Digital Curator in the British Library’s Digital Scholarship team. She has a PhD in digital humanities (2015, Department of History, Open University) entitled Making Digital History: the impact of digitality on public participation and scholarly practices in historical research. Previously, she conducted human-computer interaction-based research on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage.

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Talk: Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage, iSchool, UT Austin

As part of my trip to Texas for SXSW, I was invited to present on ‘Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage’ at a colloquium at a School of Information Research Event at UT Austin on March 8, 2016.

My thanks to the organisers for their excellent hospitality, and to the attendees for their thoughtful and probing questions!

My abstract: Why and how are museums, libraries, archives and academic projects creating crowdsourcing projects to help digitize collections or enhance their knowledge about them? Based on a review of hundreds of heritage crowdsourcing projects, this talk will highlight examples of successful projects, discuss why members of the public volunteer their time, and consider the different outcomes possible.

Austin's Capitol building
Austin’s Capitol building

Talk: Designing Successful Heritage Crowdsourcing Projects, Berlin

I was invited to Berlin to give a public lecture on ‘Designing Heritage Crowdsourcing Projects’ at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute of the Free University of Berlin on 7 December 2015.

Abstract: Based on a review of the most successful international crowdsourcing projects, this talk will look at the attributes of successful crowdsourcing projects in cultural heritage, including interface and interaction design, participation in community discussion, and understanding participant motivations.

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.

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.

Panel, paper: Current issues in Digital Humanities

On October I was on a panel on the Digital Humanities at the Open University – my talk notes are blogged at Notes on current issues in Digital Humanities.

I co-authored a paper titled ‘Colloquium: Digital Technologies: Help or Hindrance for the Humanities?’ (with Elton Barker, Chris Bissell, Lorna Hardwick, Allan Jones and John Wolffe), published in the ‘Digital Futures Special Issue Arts and Humanities in HE’ edition of Arts and Humanities in Higher Education.

Museum Crowdsourcing Games: Improving Collections Through Play (and some thoughts on re-inventing museums)

A presentation for the Inspiration Seminar on Digital Communications and Heritage (Inspirationsseminarium Digital kommunikation & kulturarv, #kulturwebb) at the Nordic Museum, organised by the Nordic Museum’s New Media department in collaboration with Mabb and IdeK lab.

I’ve saved my slides and speaker notes as a PDF (7mb): Museum Crowdsourcing Games: Improving Collections Through Play (and some thoughts on the future of museums) and the video is at http://bambuser.com/channel/nordiskamuseet/broadcast/1646762 (though I’m not sure how long it’ll be there).

You can also find related posts on my blog, Open Objects, at http://www.openobjects.org.uk/search/label/crowdsourcing and http://www.openobjects.org.uk/search/label/games.