The projects below are selected examples of crowdsourcing cultural heritage. The directory is organized by the type of crowdsourcing process involved, using the typology for crowdsourcing in the humanities developed by Dunn & Hedges (2012). They explain that, “a process is a sequence of tasks, through which an output is produced by operating on an asset”. For example, the Your Paintings Tagger website is for the process of tagging, which is an editorial task. The assets being tagged are images, and the output of the project is metadata, which makes the images easier to discover, retrieve and curate.
Alexander Research Library, Wanganui Library (NZ) Transcription of index cards from 1840 to 2002.
Ancient Lives, University of Oxford (UK) Transcription of papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt.
AnnoTate, Tate Britain (UK) Transcription of artists’ diaries, letters and sketchbooks.
Decoding the Civil War, The Huntington Library, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum & North Carolina State University (USA). Transcription and decoding of Civil War telegrams from the Thomas T. Eckert Papers.
DIY History, University of Iowa Libraries (USA) Transcription of historical documents.
Emigrant City, New York Public Library (USA) Transcription of handwritten mortgage and bond ledgers from the Emigrant Savings Bank records.
Field Notes of Laurence M. Klauber, San Diego Natural History Museum (USA) Transcription of field notes by the celebrated herpetologist.
Notes from Nature Transcription of natural history museum records.
Measuring the ANZACs, Archives New Zealand and Auckland War Memorial Museum (NZ). Transcription of first-hand accounts of NZ soldiers in WW1.
Old Weather (UK) Transcription of Royal Navy ships logs from the early twentieth century.
Scattered Seeds, Heritage Collections, Dunedin Public Libraries (NZ) Transcription of index cards for Dunedin newspapers 1851-1993
Shakespeare’s World, Folger Shakespeare Library (USA) & Oxford University Press (UK). Transcription of handwritten documents by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Identification of words that have yet to be recorded in the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary.
Smithsonian Digital Volunteers Transcription Center (USA) Transcription of multiple collections.
Transcribe Bentham, University College London (UK) Transcription of historical manuscripts by philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham,
What’s on the menu? New York Public Library (USA) Transcription of historical restaurant menus.
Recording and creating content
Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum (NZ) Records of New Zealand service people augmented with images and information from the public.
Europeana 1914-1918 (EUR) Collection of digital images and stories relating to the WW1 from the public.
Make History, 9/11 Memorial Museum (USA) Collection of stories, videos, and photos from people who experienced the events of 11 September 2001 in New York.
Our Marathon, Northeastern University and Boston City Archives (USA) Collection of pictures, videos, stories, and social media related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Pin-a-tale British Library (UK) Volunteers were asked to choose a literary work from any period and in any form that relates to a specific location in the British and Irish Isles and share how the author captured the spirit of the place.
The Great War Archive Oxford University (UK) Collection of digitized images of items contributed by the general public in 2008, via a website and a series of open days at libraries and museums throughout the UK.
Describe Me, Museum Victoria (AUS) Alt-tagging museum collection objects to improve the collections website for people who are blind or have low vision.
Freeze Tag! Brooklyn Museum (USA) Moderation of crowdsourced tags that describe collection objects.
Operation War Diary, Imperial War Museums and National Archives (UK). Classification and tagging of war diaries from the Western Front.
Steve, Social Tagging for Cultural Collections Tagging of museum collection objects.
Tag! You’re It! Brooklyn Museum (USA) Tagging of museum collection objects.
Your Paintings Tagger (UK), Public Catalogue Foundation & BBC. Tagging of images by type, subject, and style or movement.
California Digital Newspaper Collection, University of California, Riverside (USA) Correction of OCR text of historic newspaper articles.
Cambridge Public Library Historic Newspaper Collection (USA) Correction of OCR text of historic newspaper articles.
Dickens Journals Online University of Buckingham (UK) Correction of OCR text of digitized publications.
The Berry Boys, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Identification of NZ soldiers in a collection of WW1 photographs.
Civil War Faces, Library of Congress (USA) Identification of people and photographers in a collection of photographs from the Civil War.
Listening Experience Database, Open University and Royal College of Music (UK) Cataloguing of personal experiences of listening to music found in publications, letters and diaries.
Martha Berry Digital Archive, Bloomsburg University and Berry College (USA) Cataloguing of items in the digital archive.
UK Reading Experience Database, Open University (UK) Cataloguing of reading experiences in Britain from 1450 to 1945 found in publications, letters and diaries.
What’s the score at the Bodleian? Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford (UK) Cataloguing of digitized musical scores.
Commenting, critical responses, or stating preferences
50/50 Walker Art Centre (USA) Using a digital kiosk in one of the Walker galleries and an online survey, people voted whether or not particular artworks should be included in the exhibition.
Click! Brooklyn Museum (USA) A photography exhibition that invited museum visitors, the online community, and the general public to participate in the exhibition process.
Search the Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum (UK) The V&A database contains various images of the same object, some of which may not be the best view to display on the homepage of Search the Collections. Online volunteers choose the best crop from a selection of object images.
Addressing History University of Edinburgh & National Library of Scotland (UK) Combining data from digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories with contemporaneous historical maps.
Building Inspector, New York Public Library (USA) Volunteers assist with data clean up of historical maps as part of georeferencing project.
Georeferencer, British Library (UK) Georeferencing of historical maps.
Map Warper, New York Public Library (USA) Volunteers digitally align or “rectify” historical maps from the NYPL’s collections to match contemporary maps.
Linked Jazz 52nd St (USA) Classifications of relationships between jazz musicians contribute to a linked open data resource.
Back the Bull Christchurch Art Gallery (NZ) CAG asked the Christchurch public to help buy Michael Parekowhai’s bronze bull, Chapman’s Homer for the city. (Chch Art Gallery Crowd-funding. Museums Aotearoa Quarterly, Nov 2013, pp.4-5)
Populate! Christchurch Art Gallery (NZ) CAG asked the Christchurch public to help raise funds to bring more art to the city. (Chch Art Gallery Crowd-funding. Museums Aotearoa Quarterly, Nov 2013, pp.4-5)
The Three Graces Louvre Museum (EUR) The Louvre appealed to the public for donations to acquire a Renaissance masterpiece.
Map the Museum, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove (UK) Volunteers place collection objects on a map, and provide information about them
Websites for multiple processes
Citizen Archivist, National Archives (USA) Tagging of images and records, transcription of historical documents, indexing of the 1940 census, collecting of articles and photographs belonging to the public.
Cymru1900Wales, National Library of Wales (UK) Volunteers are helping to collect all the names of places and features in Wales from Ordnance Survey maps c.1900, and contribuing contextual information.
DigiVol platform, multiple institutions. Developed by Australian Museum in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia. Transcribing specimen labels and historical documents, identifying and tagging images.
Letters of 1916, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) Collection and transcription of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising.
Lives of the First World War, Imperial War Museums (UK) Linking of material related to WW1.
Marine Lives (UK) Transcription, linking and enrichment of High Court of Admiralty primary manuscripts 1650-1669.
MicroPasts British Museum and University College London (UK) Volunteers help to conduct, design and fund archaeological research.
Pitch In! State Library of Queensland (AUS) Tagging of collection items in Flickr Commons, correction of OCR text of Queensland newspapers in Trove, transcription of digitised books, diaries and letters in Wikisource, and sharing of Queensland stories.
Trove, National Library of Australia (AUS) Correction of OCR text from digitized publications, tagging of images, collection of images and information.
You might also like to visit Zooniverse, which is a hub for citizen science and humanities crowdsourcing, and the GLAM-Wiki initiative, which helps cultural institutions share their resources with the world through collaboration with experienced Wikipedia editors.