In a 2006 article in Wired, Jeff Howe wrote:
Technological advances in everything from product design software to digital video cameras are breaking down the cost barriers that once separated amateurs from professionals. Hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers suddenly have a market for their efforts, as smart companies in industries as disparate as pharmaceuticals and television discover ways to tap the latent talent of the crowd. The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional employees. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing.
What role will the crowd play in public histories or other cultural heritage projects of the future?
- Chun et al, “Steve.museum: An Ongoing Experiment in Social Tagging, Folksonomy, and Museums,” Museums and the Web (2006)
- Cohen, “The Spider and the Web: A Crowdsourcing Experiment,” “The Spider and the Web: What Is This?,” and “The Spider and the Web: Results,” DanCohen.org (16-29 Apr 2009)
- Gee et al, “What’s a Distributed Social Network?” (n.d.)
- Graham et al, “The HeritageCrowd Project: A Case Study in Crowdsourcing Public History,” in Dougherty and Nawrotzki, eds. Writing History in the Digital Age (2011)
- Gugliotta, “Deciphering Old Texts, One Woozy, Curvy Word at a Time,” New York Times (28 March 2011)
- Howe, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing,” Wired 14, no. 6 (June 2006)
- Lanier, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism,” Edge (30 May 2006)
- Leon, “Why Crowdsourcing? Why Scripto?” [bracket] (10 March 2011)
- Sterling, “Order Out of Chaos,” Wired 13, no. 4 (April 2005)
- Terras, “Present, Not Voting: Digital Humanities in the Panopticon,” (2010)
- UCL, “Many Hands Make Light Work of Bentham’s Legacy,” (8 September 2010)
- “An Acceptable Timepiece” and “Best Watch Ever!” Amazon Customer Reviews (2009-10)
Some Crowdsourced Sites to Explore
Getting Started with X: A Guide to Online Resources. In this assignment you are going to choose a topic that interests you, and write a short, introductory guide to some of the tools and sources that are available online. The topic could be anything with a historical dimension: a sub-field of history, a surname, a genre of literature, a methodology like palynology or paleography, the history of durien fruit or Dark Avengers comic books. I don’t care, as long as it is something that you are excited about. The main challenge, of course, will be to limit yourself to a discussion of the resources which really are essential for beginners, and not merely to list everything that comes up in a Google search. When you are compiling your guide, try to pay particular attention to the differences between resources which have been created by a community, and those created by one or more individuals. Post your guide to your blog when it is ready.