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MW18 Demonstration: Wisdom Of The Crowd(Sourced Content) – Library And Archives Canada’s New Crowdsourcing Platform


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By Michael Smith, Library and Archives Canada, Canada

At long last, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is following in the footsteps of other institutions such as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Archives (UK) in developing a platform for the public to transcribe, tag and translate manuscripts and photos from our diverse collection.

This talk will discuss the reasons behind our decision to build a crowdsourcing platform and the early success of our two crowdsourcing pilot projects. It will also detail the ways in which crowdsourcing platforms from other organizations influenced our design and how we are ensuring that the content is accessible and discoverable via LAC’s new collection search platform. Challenges such as addressing the Government of Canada’s Official Languages policy and ensuring the clear segregation of authoritative data vs. crowdsourced data will also be discussed along with a brief overview of user testing results and lessons learned.

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MW18 Demonstration: Wisdom Of The Crowd(Sourced Content) – Library And Archives Canada’s New Crowdsourcing Platform

  1. 1. Wisdom of the Crowd(sourced content) Library and Archives Canada's New Crowdsourcing Platform April 20, 2018 Michael Smith
  2. 2. Co-Lab - Backgrounder • Need for Crowdsourcing Application Explored in 2015-2016 • Success of 2 transcription pilot projects – Coltman Report – Lady MacDonald Diary • Supports our legislated mandate 2
  3. 3. Why Now? Impact of Not Proceeding • Falling further behind our like-minded institutions • Lack of relevance and resonance with users • Ever increasing backlog of description • Ever increasing lack of discoverability and usability of our collections • Lost opportunity to engage clients to perform work to improve our holdings 3
  4. 4. What Others are Doing •!/ • •
  5. 5. Language and Accessibility • Crowdsourced content is collected in the language of the contributor • Balance between English and French ‘challenges’ • Meets all current Government of Canada accessibility standards
  6. 6. User testing/ Bug fixes
  7. 7. Search Integration/ Distinguishing Data
  8. 8. Concerns/ Mitigation • What if someone adds a tag or transcription that is offensive? (Examples of Canadian graffiti)
  9. 9. Lessons Learned • High level business plan is key • Have a single business lead/contact • If possible, follow an agile business model/phased approach • TEST, TEST, TEST • Make sure you have approvals for name/branding
  10. 10. What are you waiting for? Get involved & start contributing today! Thank You!
  11. 11. Questions Michael D. Smith A/Manager, Online Content and Copyright, Public Services Branch Library and Archives Canada Government of Canada Tel: 613-790-2415