Crowds & CommunitiesUser Participation in the Archives Alexandra Eveleigh UKAD Archives Discovery Forum The National Archives 3 March 2011
What is ‘User Participation’? Image: Online Communities 2 (2010) http://xkcd.com/802/
What is ‘User Participation’?
User Participation (a working definition): Designed to make use of users’ skills, knowledge or creativity User-focused, perhaps user-led Reciprocal Online Focused upon description & resource discovery (metadata creation & re-use)
Postmodernist Utopia or Professionalism At Risk? Cartoon: Peter Steiner, The New Yorker (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20), 5 July 1993
Serious Leisure: Amateurs or Experts? “I hope there always will be, room for the Amateur, and in large numbers…the Local Official or other enthusiast whose Archives do not need and cannot claim the whole of his time; but who can find enough to undertake their listing or repair or photographing and wishes to acquire, within those limits, something of a professional technique.” Hilary Jenkinson, October 1947. Inaugural lecture for a new course in Archive Administration at University College London.
Communities: Volunteers and Professionals
Revolution or Evolution in Archival Practice and Professionalism? Crowds or communities - is user participation a new phenomenon, or similar to previous outreach and volunteering initiatives? Do user participation initiatives really attract ‘new’ users or do current design models effectively limit the participant pool to existing ‘experts’? What are the implications of collaboratively authored descriptions for archival authority and control? What role does the professional archivist have to play in the moderation of user-contributed metadata?
What motivates participation? What are the optimal frameworks for participation? How can systems be designed to motivate and reward contributions? How effective are contribution rate statistics as a motivational tool? Do contributors value acknowledgement? Is competition ‘healthy’ as a means to motivate contribution?
‘Crowdsourcing’ Extended control Predefined tasks Project-based Wide range of potential participants Quantitative incentive mechanisms Gaps & errors highlighted
Crowds & Communities(Adapted from Haythornthwaite, 2009) Communities Crowds
Specialist knowledge or skills (novice to expert)
Group norms; social rewards
Attribution & reputation
Shared responsibility for product & process
Open membership: low barriers to entry Dip-in, dip-out Extrinsically motivated Granular task, predefined by external authority Anonymous Quantitative recognition mechanisms eg contribution rate
Alexandra Eveleigh email@example.com @ammeveleigh http://80gb.wordpress.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/-bast-/349497988/
List of Examples Ancestry World Archives Project - http://community.ancestry.co.uk/wap/download.aspx Exploring Surrey's Past - http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/ Family Search Indexing - http://indexing.familysearch.org/ flickr Commons - http://www.flickr.com/commons/ FromThePage - http://beta.fromthepage.com/ Living the Poor Life - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/living-poor-life.htm Militieregisters - http://militieregisters.nl/ My Brighton and Hove - http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/ Old Weather - http://www.oldweather.org/ Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections - http://polarbears.si.umich.edu/ Revisiting Archives – available from http://www.collectionslink.org.uk/ The Visible Archive - http://visiblearchive.blogspot.com/ Transcribe Bentham - http://www.transcribe-bentham.da.ulcc.ac.uk/td/Transcribe_Bentham Waisda - http://waisda.nl/ Your Archives - http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk