GalaxyZoo, like Transcribe Bentham. What can small institutions and small projects do, and do the rules that seem to apply to large projects also apply to them?
Balboa Park Online Collaborative. It's a Klauber Field Notes Transcription Project--the field notes of Laurence M. Klauber, who was the nation's foremost authority on rattlesnakes. These are field notes that he kept from 1923 through 1967. This is done by the San Diego Natural History Museum and is run by our own Perian Sully who is out there in the room somewhere.
Julia Brumfield Diaries. If the name looks familiar, it's because she's my great-great grandmother. This project was the impetus for me to develop this tool for crowdsourced transcription.
So all of these projects, what they have in common is that we're talking about page counts that are in the thousands and volunteer counts that are numbered in the dozens at best. So these are not FamilySearch Indexing, where you can rely on hundreds of thousands of volunteers and large networks.
this is the North American Bird Phenology Program out of Patuxent
summed up by Rachel Stone, and what she essentially said is that crowdsourcing isn't getting the sort of random distribution from the crowd. Crowdsourcing is getting a number of "well-informed enthusiasts."
SETILive. Now what this does is it pulls in live data from the SETI satellites[sic: actually telescope], and in those 24 hours--I took this screenshot; I actually skipped lunch to get this one screenshot because I knew that it would pass 10,000 people participating with 80,000 of these classifications. And it would have been higher, except last night the telescope got covered by cloud cover. So they dropped from getting 30 to 40 contributions per second to having to show sort of archival data and getting only 10 contributions per second. Well, they can do this because they have an existing base of active volunteers that numbers around 600,000.
Kathryn Stallard and Anne Veerkamp-Andersen at Southwestern University Special Collections and I discussed a lot when we were trying to launch the Zenas Matthews Diary. We said, "Well, we don't have any budget at all." Kathryn said, "Well, let's talk about local archival newsletters. Let's post to H-Net lists." I was in favor of looking at online communities of people who might be doing Matthews genealogy or the military history war-gamers who have discussion forums on the Mexican War.
Well that wasn't actually what he was talking about, but he responds and says, "Yeah, okay, I'll check that out, but can you please give me the document I want." They get it back to him and we returned to our discussion of "Okay, what do we need to do to roll this out? We're going to start working on the information architecture. We're going to work on the UI. We're going to work on help screens." And while we're having this conversation, Mr. Patrick checks it out.
So wow! All right! We got our well-informed enthusiast! In 14 days, he transcribed the diary, and he didn't do just one pass. I mean as he got familiar with the hand, he goes back and revises the earlier transcriptions. He kind of figures out who's involved. He asks other members of his heritage organization what this is. He adds two dozen footnotes.
What just happened? What was that about? Who is this guy? Well, Scott Patrick is a retired petroleum worker who got interested in his family history, and then got interested in local history, and then got interested in heritage organizations. And he is our ideal "well-informed enthusiast".
What you have when someone is coming in and asking about material is, if you think about this in terms of target marketing--this is a target-rich environment. Here is someone who is interested. He's online. He's researching this particular subject. He is not an existing patron. he has no prior relationship with Southwestern University Libraries, but "Hey, while we answer your request, you might check this thing out that's in this related field." That seems to have worked in this one case. Hopefully, we'll get some more experience with future projects.
OldWeather, which is run by GalaxyZoo, will plot your ship on a Google map as you transcribe the latitude and longitude elements from the log books.
crowdsourcing game of Whac-A-Mole. So this is crowdsourcing taken to the extreme.
And hey, while we're at it, let's mine our data. We can come up with a couple of top-10 lists. So we come up with the top-ten list of transcribers and a top-ten list of editors, because that's the data I have.
Well remember, the whole point of this exercise is to index these diaries so that we can find the mentions of these individual species in the original manuscripts. Do you see indexing on here anywhere? Neither did our volunteers, and the minute this went up, the volunteers who previously had been transcribing and indexing every single page stopped indexing completely. They weren't being measured on it. We weren't saying that we rewarded them for it, so they stopped.
Alexandra Eveleigh. Her point is that if you're going to design any kind of extrinsic motivation, you have to make sure that it promotes the actual contributory behavior, and this is something that applies, I believe, to small projects as well as large projects.