Libraries and Archiving – with the use of Crowdsourcing

I came across a very interesting article written by Fiona Sullivan titled Crowdsourcing for Libraries and Archives on the Archives Outside Blog. Fiona’s article shares with us some really useful tips for Libraryoutsourcing your archive projects, pointing to 7 really interesting facts and insights into using crowdsourcing, with 3 of them being in the field of libraries and archives.

Here are some of the things that I found most interesting:

Involving archive users in digitising archival collections, Harriet Deacon, The Archival Platform

Photocopying archives for researchers is a dead end because it provides no digitised copy for use elsewhere; also it exposes documents to unnecessary light, and it often damages them, even when done by library staff. Some archives, including the Amsterdam City Archives and the National Archives of Australia, charge researchers who request a scanned document, and then provide the scanned document to other researchers online (see the ArchivesNext blog on this). This is another way of crowdfunding digitisation, and it is already practiced by some South African archives.

Crowdsourcing: How and Why Should Libraries Do It?
, Rose Holley, National Library of Australia

Examples of crowdsourcing goals for libraries could be: getting users to mark the errors in our catalogues; rating the reliability of information/records; adding information to records; verifying name authority files; adding user created content to collections; creating e-books; correcting full text; transcribing handwritten records; and most especially describing items that we have not made accessible because they are not catalogued/described yet. A prime example of this is photographs. The normal procedure in a library is that a photograph is not digitised until it has been catalogued. If instead it is digitised first and users are given the chance to describe the content this would radically open up access to a lot of ‘hidden’ and difficult to describe photographic collections.

Fantastic volunteer scanning project with National Archives–great example of crowdsourcing (and interesting remarks from Mr. Ferriero)

There are a variety of models for public-private partnerships. It is our hope that the International Amateur Scanning League will pave the way for a host of new initiatives that will help us all make the public domain more accessible by crowd-sourcing digitization of government archives. These efforts are not meant to replace private sector efforts, and certainly do not alleviate the need for government to step up their own digitization initiatives, such as the establishment of a National Scan Center


Crowdsourcing is everywhere! The web is swamped loads of useful advice on the topic – and this is just the beginning!

Hoxne Challenge, Liam Wyatt, Wittys Blog

I think that there is much similarity between the original finding of the Hoxne Hoard in 1992 and Wikipedia’s work on the same subject at the British Museum 18 years later. This is Wikipedia’s first time we’ve sat down with the experts a tried to build a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Ross Dawson: Six tools to kickstart your crowdsourcing strategy, Neil Davey,

In one sense it means that real customer desires can be expressed in ways that could not be before. Any number of emails, telephone calls or letters asking for something would never result in anything. But if you have the tools to actually get a clear idea of what your customers want and you can tap that, it can be a far more effective way of responding to customer needs

List of crowdsourcing Projects

Wikipedia has pulled together a list of the many different crowdsourcing platforms available online.

Have you heard of any other instances where Crowdsourcing has been used in Libraries and Archiving?