(From Stuart Dunn, King’s College London)
The increasingly networked nature of the academic world is raising important questions about how the humanities can interact with wider communities outside the academy. ‘Crowd-sourcing’ is a term that has come to encompass a range of activities involving such interaction.
It has been used in the past by physical scientists, principally to process very large datasets. It also relates – in different ways – to humanities data, including, but not limited to, transcribing, classifying, proofreading, tagging and commenting.
More recently, some humanities researchers have begun to experiment with ways of crowd-sourcing interpretative and creative material. This is a complex and partially-understood area, and to investigate it, the Centre for e-Research in KCL’s Department of Digital Humanities has received funding from the AHRC’s Connected Communities programme to conduct a research review of crowd-sourcing in the humanities. We hope this will uncover a range of ways in which the academy-based humanities can collaborate with wider audiences. The project website can be found at http://humanitiescrowds.org/.
We are currently seeking to identify contributors to crowd-sourcing projects, and are conducting a survey. This asks some questions about contributors’ backgrounds, the nature of the crowd-sourcing work they undertake, and about their motivations for doing so. Please forward this link to anyone who may have relevant experience or knowledge to share.
We are also aware that research and other relevant information in an area such as this is often to be found outside traditional academic publications, in blogs, tweets, project sites etc. We would welcome the contribution of any such links to our Delicious stack so that they can be included in our review.