Crowdsourcing in the Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage Sector
At Victoria University of Wellington on 23 April 2013, Wai-te-ata Press hosted the latest in a series of digital history workshops. This time the spotlight was on crowdsourcing in the digital humanities and cultural heritage sector – the first event of its kind in New Zealand. Among the sixty participants from around the country were people from History, Information Management and ITS at VUW, galleries, libraries, archives, museums, as well as people working in digitisation, innovation, design, creative commons, and independent researchers.
The workshop considered crowdsourcing from the perspectives of project management, collaboration, research, and digital preservation, and concluded with a discussion about the training required for these and other digital initiatives in New Zealand. Fourteen presenters from New Zealand were joined by two international guest speakers: Professor Raymond Siemens, Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing and Director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and Assoc. Professor Lynne Siemens, University of Victoria, BC.
Many questions about crowdsourcing emerged from the group session in the morning, which could drive future workshops and research. For example:
- How viable is crowdsourcing in countries with a small population like New Zealand, and can crowdsourcing be effectively scaled down for small projects?
- How can people interested in contributing to crowdsourcing projects find out about them?
- How much work is involved to implement open source crowdsourcing platforms?
- How do we manage expectations about authority, completeness and accuracy (this is the right answer vs. this is our best effort)?
- How do we manage the potential for crowdsourced contributions to become licensed and revenue generating?
- How do we make an effective call for ongoing contributions of digital cultural heritage?
- How do we raise acceptance of crowdsourcing in the Humanities and other traditional disciplines?
- How are crowdsourced contributions being digitally preserved?
The event was a great success, and demonstrated the wide interest in the potential of crowdsourcing for the Humanities and cultural heritage sector in New Zealand.