By definition, crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community. We can definitely see the link with the Science of Digital Humanities. Indeed, the crowdsourcing is becoming a powerful tool to collect data, and these tree papers will help us to know it better.

The first paper focuses on the “Crowd- and Community-fuelled Archaeological Research” Project. This one is the result of a study made by the collaboration of the British Museum and the University College of London. They use crowdsourcing to feed a web platform for the archaeological community. Basically, they use it in two ways: co-production of data on specific archaeological objects and collaboration on totally new projects. A third utility of the platform is to create crowd funding on new research.

The second paper is about a totally different topic. Traumatic events suffer from the lack of instantaneous official data. Indeed, the event is not predictable and here comes a new kind of use of crowdsourcing. More specifically, this paper talks about the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 2013. Graduate and Faculty Members of the North-eastern University NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks tried to collect the maximum of data concerning this dramatic event, and it occurs that most of the data would come from the testimony of people having sudden closely or remotely this event. Here comes the need of crowdsourcing. Indeed they created a web-publishing platform to help people who suffered from this event, and help researchers wanting to know better about this one collecting new and fresh data.

The third and last paper deals with the principle of taxonomy itself, which is a very important part of the crowdsourcing. The author underlines the importance of, not only have a findable entity, but create a linking between all of them, allowing the users to have a deepest research. Indeed, today we have enough data, but we have to learn to use it in an efficient and intelligent way.

We can definitely relate these three articles with the keyword Crowdsourcing. Moreover, we can notice that some aspects of these projects are exactly the same for all of theme, and it allows us to determine how it works.

First of all, these crowdsourcing projects come from a real need of data. Archaeological datum and testimonies are very difficult to obtain, crowdsourcing simply creates a community able to make an inventory, a central repository of stories, brain ware, and public-initiative. So the triggering factor is clearly the need of data.

Then, we can notice that founders of both of the projects are or an Academic Institution or a Private institution. This fact is obviously not mandatory but the need of data is still today coupled with the research.

Indeed, crowdsourcing is a new tool that has to be improved. The Archaeological Project was co-founded by the British Museum and the University College of London. Both of them benefit from this innovation. Graduate and faculty members of the Northeast University of United States developed the “Our Marathon” Project. DiRT and DARIAH are tools developed by institutions to improve the taxonomy science.

Plus, we can obviously emphasize the “community “ factor, which is the most important. All the concept of Crowdsourcing is possible thanks to the people sharing. It’s maybe too obvious, but nowadays, all new concepts, tools, and sciences build bridges, to allow people to share with others, learn from the others, and to benefit from it.

Finally, there is a real will from the creators of these platforms, tools, to provide to people a new way of information, and research. Indeed, as it is written in the Our Marathon’s paper, crowdsourcing is at his first step, the one in which all these institutions want to convince public that the work of Digital Humanities is valuable to them, can help them in so many ways, from a psychological aspect (Marathon Bombing) to a more cultural aspect. Making these projects increase the people’s awareness on how powerful can be the Internet in a positive way. Plus, it gives some templates to people wanting to use crowdsourcing in different fields, using Open source software for instance, or giving updates on every step of each project.

To sum up, we can definitely see here one of the future big tools of Digital Humanities. The infinite power of Crowdsourcing gives no limit to the research and information. As it’s very new, the new huge problem of this tool, but not only concerning digital humanities, is the data processing. The “big data” science is growing every day, and we learn more and more on this topic.

References :

-“Scholarly primitives revisited: towards a practical taxonomy of digital humanities research activities and objects.” By Luise Borek, Quinn Dombrowski, Matthew Munson, Jody Perkins and Christof Schöch,
-“Mixing contributions, collaborations and co-creation: participatory archaeology through crowd-sourcing.” By Daniel Edward John Pett, Chiara Bonacchi and Andy Bevan,
-“Our Marathon: The Boston bombing digital archive.” By Jim McGrath and Alicia Peaker.