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Crowdsourcing and Social Engagement: Potential, Power and Freedom for Libraries and Users

Rose Holley – Manager, Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program, National Library of Australia


The definition and purpose of crowdsourcing and social engagement with users will be discussed with particular reference to the Australian Newspapers service http://newspapers.nla.gov.au, FamilySearch http://familysearchindexing.org, Wikipedia http://wikipedia.org and the Distributed Proofreaders http://www.pgdp.net. These services have harnessed thousands of digital volunteers who transcribe, create, enhance and correct text. The successful strategies which motivated users to help, engage, and develop the outcomes will be examined. How can the lessons learnt be applied more broadly across the library and archive sector and what is the future potential? Users no longer expect to be passive receivers of information and want to engage with data, each other and non-profit making organisations to help achieve what may seem to be impossible goals and targets. If libraries want to stay relevant and valued, offer high quality data and continue to have a significant social impact they are well advised to have active engagement strategies and harness crowdsourcing techniques and partnerships to enhance their services. Can libraries respond to the shift in power and control of information and do we dare give users something greater than power – freedom?

Presentation [ PPT | DOC ]

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