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Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums
 

Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums

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Museums are seeking new ways to attract and engage audiences in a crowded digital landscape with a lot of competition for online time and attention. Games allow a fresh approach to museum ...

Museums are seeking new ways to attract and engage audiences in a crowded digital landscape with a lot of competition for online time and attention. Games allow a fresh approach to museum interpretation and learning with the potential to reach large, traditionally hard-to-reach audiences. Player participation can also be harnessed to create benefits for museums and their audiences through games that help provide improve the quality of collection data, while encouraging a new type of audience engagement.

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  • Mia Ridge @mia_out Games: http://museumgam.es/ Blog: http://openobjects.blogspot.com
  • We're going to go on a journey, looking at the problems encountered by many museums, finding solutions and dealing with the challenges they bring…[In summary:crowdsourcing can help digitise your collections and make them more accessible;crowdsourcing games help people have fun interactions and deeper engagement while creating useful content about your collectionsa well-designed crowdsourcing game acts as a 'participation engine']
  • The magic circle is a useful concept – it's 'the boundary that divides ideas and activities that are meaningful in the game from those that are meaningful in the real world. The magic circle is entered into when the player decides to play.  After some research, I made 'casual' games. Casual games work well for crowdsourcing because they are designed to be easy to pick up and play, and can be enjoyed in two minutes or played for hours. Casual game genres include puzzles, word games, board games, card games or trivia games. Angry Birds and Solitaire are casual games you’ve probably heard of, even if you don’t think of yourself as a ‘gamer’.Metadata games are games that play with words. For example, you might have to name the thing that I'm describing or drawing or acting out in a game like Pictionary, Taboo or Charades.  Image source: http://www.allfunnystuff.com/funny-stuff/4591/puppy-circle.html
  • Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) is a useful concept for game design (and everyday life). It's that state of total focus when the world falls away and hours pass like minutes. In this diagram, it’s the ‘channel’ where your skill and the challenges you face are matched – if your skills are greater than the challenge, you're bored; but if you don't have the skills for the challenge then you feel anxiety.
  • Flow can occur in games or in work, but it requires a clear goal, immediate feedback on the success of your attempts to reach that goal, and a good match between skills and challenges. Supporting flow helps keep players engaged with a game, and therefore helps create more content for you. For crowdsourcing games, the trick is increasing the challenge without compromising the quality of data, and providing ways for skills and mastery to grow.
  • Unlike art objects, which are more accessible - even non-experts can describe them in terms of colour, the things they depict, mood or individual emotional response - everyday and technical historical objects can be less accessible to non-experts.Social history collections can contain tens or hundreds of similar objects, including technical items, reference collections, objects whose purpose may not be immediately evident from their appearance, and objects whose meaning may be obscure to the general visitor. So my project asked whether metadata games could help people have fun with creating useful content about difficult objects. How many versions of almost identical telescopes could people bear to see? And could the public give us useful information about our telescopes?The results of the project were 'Dora', a tagging game; and 'Donald', an experimental 'trivia' game that explored emergent game-play around longer forms of content, including things we might not know about our own collections. The code was designed to be re-usable by other museums, libraries and archives, contact me if you’re interested in making games for your organisation.Image sources: Powerhouse Museum
  • Ok, so onto the first problem… Museums invested in putting collections online but collections sites not as engaging for general audiences; also not discoverable in google. There's a 'semantic gap' between everyday language of audiences and the language of catalogues.Image source: http://museumgam.es/content-added-so-far/?obj_ID=268 (Science Museum object)
  • So what can we do? Add more content with information about the objects - explain its significance in everyday language, contextualise it with themes, links and media, use folksonomies of tags to make the content more discoverable and help people make connections.
  • Ok, that's a problem.
  • Crowdsourcing! We've heard from Shelley about the potential of the crowd…Crowdsourcing is using 'the spare processing power of millions of human brains'. For museums, libraries and archives, where there's too much work for us to do by ourselves, crowdsourcing creates the possibility of opening up the task of creating or improving content about collections to the whole world.
  • A tweet from yesterday - imagine having that many volunteers working with you… http://twitter.com/alastairdunning/statuses/73747433238183937
  • Problem: now that everyone knows crowdsourcing can help solve big problems, you're competing in a participation economy. How do you attract people to your project?
  • Crowdsourcing games should produce meaningful, accurate metadata as a side effect of enjoyable game play". Careful design also reduces the risk of disaster. Scaffold the experience - build player requirements into the start of the game; build tutorials for new skills into gameplay at the point where its needed; provide good feedback on actionsYou can make a virtue of the randomness or nicheness of your contentPeople like helping out - crowdsourcing games validate procrastination - so show them how their data is used
  • Crowdsourcing games should produce meaningful, accurate metadata as a side effect of enjoyable game play". Careful design also reduces the risk of disaster. Scaffold the experience - build player requirements into the start of the game; build tutorials for new skills into gameplay at the point where its needed; provide good feedback on actionsYou can make a virtue of the randomness or nicheness of your contentPeople like helping out - crowdsourcing games validate procrastination - so show them how their data is used
  • The activities listed are based on a review of general and museum-specific crowdsourcing projects and games, and of the designs proposed for this project. They can be mapped to typical game challenges, and built into games (in iterative design and play-testing phases) as game rules and themes applied to the objects from a particular museum collection. The type of data input required will depend on the collection and 'distinctiveness' of the object. There's more in the MW2011 paper, or get in touch to discuss. Tagging (e.g. simple worlds, also structured tagging/categorisation)Debunking (e.g. flagging content for review and/or researching and providing corrections).Recording a personal story (e.g. oral histories; eyewitness accounts)Linking (e.g. linking objects with other objects, objects to subject authorities, objects to related media or websites; e.g. MMG Donald).Stating preferences (e.g. choosing between two objects e.g. GWAP Matchin; voting on or 'liking' content). Categorising (e.g. applying structured labels to a group of objects, collecting sets of objects or guessing the label for or relationship between given sets of objects).Creative responses (e.g. write an interesting fake history for a known object or purpose of a mystery object.) Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robotconscience/2261650044/
  • What about people adding bad data? Or finding the excellent records among the good? Or different types of participants?
  • Solution: an ecosystem of games.An ecosystem of linked games lets you build for different types of participant skills, knowledge, experience; and build for different levels of participation from liking, to tagging, finding facts and links. Use data from one game as input into other games e.g. Use stats from tagging games to reduce the number of repetitive objects in higher-level gamesIt could help resolve some of the difficulties around validating specialist tags or long-form, more subjective content by circulating content between games for validation and ranking for correctness and 'interestingness' by other players.  In this model, content is created about objects in the game; the content is validated; a game-dependent value (score) is assigned to the content; and the player is rewarded. The value of a piece of content may also be validated (e.g. for 'interestingness') when other players show preferences for it. At this point, the object and the new content about it can be used in a new game or presented on a collections page. For some content types, the content may be validated by players in another game after a default value has been calculated but this introduces tricky design issues around delayed responses to actions. The evaluation for Donald suggested that future prototypes with more clearly defined tasks would increase participation rates - matching specific tasks to appropriate objects is a perfect job for crowdsourcing within an ecosystem of games. Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/henrikj/5720059319/sizes/o/
  • Problem: Ok, but what about dodgy data? And what about different types of people?
  • Dealing with problem data is not such a big problem, just build it into the ecosystem. This is Brooklyn Museum’s ‘Freeze Tag!’, a game that cleans up data added in a tagging game.Image source: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/freeze_tag/start.phpe.g. Brooklyn Museum tag cleaning game.
  • More win - how to make crowdsourcing games even better...
  • Good feedback (eg rewards based on quality, not quantity of tags) is importantFun is personal - design for a target persona based on skills, abilities, motivations, types of fun and demographics; test with the target audience as early and as often as possibleEcosystem helps with these
  • Varying the levels of challenge and increasing the skills required provides some tension and release, keeps the game more interestingInterestingly hard challenges make for a better game. Meaningful choices mean there must be a possibility of failure. Failure is also part of mastering new skills.
  • Extension: not perfect yet, but keep experimenting, designing, testing, and share what you learn.
  • Games benefit from iterative development, with designs tailored for particular core audiences (motivation, abilities etc ###)
  • In summary, crowdsourcing games are a fun way for people to engage with your collections, and the content they generate can make your collections more accessible for other users. They might even tell you things you didn't know about your own collections.
  • All images icanhascheezburger.com unless otherwise credited.

Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums Presentation Transcript

  • Everyone wins: crowdsourcing games and museums
    Mia Ridge, Open University
    @mia_out
    http://openobjects.blogspot.com
    Museum Next, Edinburgh, May 26-27, 2011
  • Getting to epic win
  • First, some definitions
    a magic circle
    (but puppies aren't very good at casual games like Solitaire or Angry Birds and they're hopeless at metadata games like Pictionary)
  • 'flow'

    flow channel
    Challenges
    Anxiety
    Boredom

    0
    Skills
  • 'flow'

    flow channel
    Challenges
    • clear goal
    • immediate feedback on the success of actions
    • good match between skills and challenges.

    0
    Skills
  • Beware pointsification: “taking the thing that is least essential to games and representing it as the core of the experience”
    “a short-term sugar rush of engagement followed by a crash”
    “emphasizes the shallow, dumb, non-interesting tasks, and it decreases motivation for interesting tasks that might be intrinsically motivated.”
    Gamification?
  • Museum metadata games - 'difficult' objects:technical, near-duplicate, poorly catalogued or scantily digitised
    'toy' model steam engines, Powerhouse Museum
  • On the way to epic win
  • Mind the (semantic) gap…
    Why does he look sad?
    Because the ordinary reader can’t tell why this object is significant
    (It’s a model of a giant sun dial built in India in the 1720s; the largest stone observatory in the world)
  • …we can fix the gap…
    Did you know? Pictures of cats with captions added are called 'lolcats'. This is a cute picture of a cat, but as it has no caption, it's not a lolcat.
    Find other records tagged with: kitten, keyboard, laptop, bedroom, cute
    added content
  • ...but that’s expensive
  • …so get the public to help
  • …crowdsourcing works
    galaxy zoo zooinverse has 425,000 volunteers #beyond2011 yesterdayvia web, alastairdunning
  • But now everyone knows crowdsourcing is good, you’re competing for eyeballs
  • …games for crowdsourcing
    e.g. correcting OCR for libraries with DigitalKoot, Finland, one month after launch: 'over 2 million individual tasks, totalling 100,000 minutes, or 1,700 hours, of work'; Games with a purpose, 2008: 50 million verified tags
  • …games for crowdsourcing
    20 million people in the UK play casual games; 250 million people play social games
  • One Facebook status update asking for players: 180 turns (176 tagging turns, 4 fact turns), 1179 tags and 4 facts about 145 objects from 26 players in c. 6 hours
    (avg 10 minutes and over 8 pages per visit)
  • Games - participation engines for crowdsourcing
    'magic circle' helps get people playing
    good game mechanics motivate on-going play
  • Games - participation engines for crowdsourcing
    tailor tasks and rewards to your data needs
    design for specific player skills, motivation, types of fun
    validate procrastination
    careful design reduces the risk of disasters or 'accidents'
  • invoke the magic circle
    clear task
    make participating instant and easy
  • Active engagement
    Players enjoy the objects
    Close, active viewing
    Curiosity and 'just one more'
    Learning
    Leaving a trace
  • Potential game 'atoms' for crowdsourcing
    • Tagging
    • Debunking
    • Recording a personal story
    • Linking
    • Stating preferences
    • Categorising
    • Creative responses
  • Ok, so far so good, but what about…?
  • Create an ecosystem of games
    • Engage a wider range of players
    • Simple games help clean and test data for use in other games
    • Validate and rate specialist content from complex tasks
    • Be creative - e.g. crowdsource the matching of activities to objects
  • Problems?
  • Make a game for each problem
  • More win?
  • Design easy, feel-good tasks to get started
    Help players acquire, test and master new skills
    Fun is personal - iterative playtests with real people
  • The possibility of failure makes it interesting

    flow channel
    Challenges
    Anxiety
    Boredom

    0
    Skills
  • Still not perfect?
  • Keep experimenting
  • …and share what you learn FTW
  • Everyone wins!
    Crowdsourcing games are:
    fun
    engaging
    productive
    Players learn new information and skills
    Museums can learn from players
  • Thank you!
    Mia Ridge, Open University
    @mia_out
    Games:
    http://museumgam.es
    Blog:
    http://openobjects.blogspot.com
    Yay, new content!