Crowdsourcing or bust: The Indexer, Archives NZ


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Digital History workshop: Crowdsourcing in the Humanities and cultural heritage sector. Victoria University of Wellington 23 April 2013
Session: Crowdsourcing or bust (The Indexer, Archives New Zealand)
Presenter: Tracie Almond

Published in: Education, Technology
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  • Note that project is not LIVE yet – date to be determined.
  • Data will feed search results for Archway.
  • More tricky with more data about the main applicant than the dependents.
  • Easy layout but tricky content – handwritten, Māori names
  • Home page: Intro/call to action Volunteers have some choices – topic and complexity Competition encouraged for those motivated by that Simple, clean design
  • Transcribing a simple index card
  • One of those tricky applications for relief
  • Budgeted <$6k for UI design / IA / usability testing Removes ‘friction’ and ‘anxiety’
  • Our designer is a star at the ‘information architecture’ as well as the graphic design side. Find one like that – not just someone who can make it pretty.
  • Failed pretty much on this whole thing other than can cross-walk the data to DC, via Archives NZ’s GAIMSII descriptive standard. Data is cross-walked to Archives NZ’s descriptive model, so it will map across to Archway.
  • Crowdsourcing or bust: The Indexer, Archives NZ

    1. 1. Crowdsourcing or BustArchives NZ’s ‘The Indexer’Tracie Almond23 April 2013
    2. 2. What is The Indexer?• A crowd-sourcing tool for ‘virtualvolunteers’ to transcribe the contents ofindexes from scanned images.
    3. 3. Archives NZ’s Project Objective• Improve the findability of archives that relyon secondary finding aids (e.g. nameindexes).Supporting the long term vision that:• We have a single, integrated set offinding aids available online for publicuse.
    4. 4. Problems we’re trying to solve• Current search tools do not find some archiveswell due to the archives being described at afairly lumpy level.• Names, places and other useful information areoften only in indexes, etc. The indexes are oftenin paper form, so only available in our offices.• We are not serving our researchers as well aswe could if we had that material incorporatedinto our online search tools.• We can then link to digital copies of the archiveand reduce the need for people to visit ouroffices.
    5. 5. Archives NZ has about1 million entriesit would like to capture –like these ...
    6. 6. Class List – YCAF 4135 (example of Single entry type)
    7. 7. Hospital Index (example of Single entry type)
    8. 8. Auckland Hospital Charitable Aid – Application for Relief(example of Single & Multiple entry type)
    9. 9. BBCB 4243 MāoriSuccession Register(example of Multiple entrytype)
    10. 10. The Indexer
    11. 11. Project benefits• High priority secondary finding aids will beaccessible to our search engines.• Archives NZ will have the infrastructureneeded to capture and make availablemany of the other high priority secondaryfinding aids.• We will increase our pool of volunteersand community involvement by providingonline tools.
    12. 12. Lessons learned• Do your research – others have gonebefore and can provide great advice• Use a professional interface designer –it doesn’t cost much more to make it looknice and be a good user experience• Plan for openness – use authorities,make an API, open source the software(easier to do if you plan it in)
    13. 13. Do your research• Try out the other projects out there already– see what you do and don’t like• Talk to those who’ve done it – get theiradvice• Read up on the science behind it
    14. 14. Use a professional interfacedesigner• It doesn’t cost much – less than $6k forThe Indexer (including usability testing)• Test on users at the design stage andagain before release• Result is tailored to the tasks but still clean
    15. 15. Plan for Openness• Can you use a metadata standard?• Can you adopt widely used name or placeauthorities?• Can you make an API to share the data?• Can you open source your software?