Monthly Archives: December 2015

Thanks for great workshop 2!

CVJFeLPWEAAyCH6.jpgAn excellent set of talks were presented by all speakers at the Second ScotDigiCH workshop on Crowdsourcing – C0-curation – Co-creation in Cultural Heritage, using a wide range of examples and analysing honestly and thoughtfully the lessons learned from their experience with crowdsourcing projects.


Mia Ridge (Digital Curator, British Library) opened the sessions with a good introduction and overview of the different approaches and main issues in crowdsourcing so-far. “Think of it like inviting people to your home…. so don’t lock yourself in the kitchen” was one of the memorable quotes that touched on the heart of the user engagement and volunteer management questions for cultural institutions. (slideshare link)

Andrew Nicoll from the recently re-named Historic Environment Scotland talked about the experience from SCRAN, MyCanmore, Scotland’s Places, and Britain from Above projects and the varied levels of engagement, curatorial involvement and type of approach these range. “Better to start small and evaluate first before spreading to a huge crowd” was his advice for organisations wanting to try crowdsourcing.

CVI2sqOWUAAad24.jpg Andrew Greg talked about crowdsourcing around paintings’ collections based on the experience of the well known YourPaintings project (whose BBC website will be relaunched as Art UK in 2016) and Art Detective which tries to engage the public in discussions about art and history. Interesting to note how a small number of users contribute most of the content. (slideshare link)

Milena Dobreva (University of Malta) and Fred Truyen (KU Leuven), who couldn’t make it to Glasgow and joined us from Belgium via video, talked about the EU Civic Epistemologies project and the differences between citizen science and crowdsoucing. Important issues to explore in this direction are the diffusion of innovation, the challenges in combining the roles of different stakeholders and managing users’ expectations. The project ( has prepared a roadmap defining the main steps to bring citizens and their associations into the research processes of digital cultural heritage. The project at its recent November conference also proposed the Berlin Chapter, a set of principles for encouraging citizens’ engagement in cultural heritage and humanities research in the digital age. (slideshare linkslideshare linklink to the Prezi presentation)

Maarten Brinkerink from the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision (NISV) explained how the organisations three main aims of being smart, connected and open fit well crowdsourcing principles. He described how different crowdsourcing typologies are used at the NISV, following the digital content life cycle. So, for example, he outlined the experience of using games with a purpose for tagging and classification crowdsourcing tasks, such as the video-labelling game asking users to contribute fine-grained tags matching controlled vocabularies or the one where users have to type what they hear and see to score points. Crowdsourcing is also used for collections acquisitions, for example in the Sounds of the Netherlands project and for collaborative sound mapping, as well as for contextualisation, correction and transcription, co-curation and crowdfunding. (slideshare link)

The workshop was attended by over seventy participants from a wide range of cultural institutions and universities at all levels, from postgraduate students to senior managers who engaged actively with the topics from the start. The afternoon group work session brought up and explored in greater depth several issues raised at the talks, such as: the question of terminology and the differences between crowdsourcing and citizen science, the need for new set of skills for managing effectively such projects, the pressure these put on resources but also organisational culture and mentality, the need for clear objectives when embarking on such initiatives and whether the emphasis is more on data input or community engagement (or can it be both?).

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Thanks to all participants and moderators for their hard work: Monica Callaghan, Head of Education, Hunterian; Pam Babes, Head of Collections Management, National Museums Scotland; Emily Munro, Education and Outreach Officer, Moving Image Archive of National Library of Scotland; Ian Ruthven, Professor of Information Retrieval, University of Strathclyde; Gavin Willshaw, Digital Curator, Edinburgh University Libraries; Andrew Prescott, Professor of Digital Humanities and AHRC Digital Transformations Leadership Fellow (and those who were on standby or merged with other groups: Martin Bellamy, Head of Research, Glasgow Life, Ian Anderson, Senior Lecturer & Ann Gow, Head of Subject, HATII-University of Glasgow).

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Tweets at #ScotDigiCHW2

Tomorrow we have another event planned: the Knowledge Exchange Crowdsoucing workshop and the meeting of the Digital Transformation Network, organised jointly with Museums Galleries Scotland and taking place at the Kelvingrove Museum.