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Engaging the Citizen Scientist in Content Enhancement for BHL


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This presentation will discuss two current crowdsourcing activities initiated with BHL content: Science Gossip (implemented by ConSciCom on top of the Zooniverse platform) and two online games (Beanstalk and Smorball developed by Tiltfactor @ Darmouth)

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Engaging the Citizen Scientist in Content Enhancement for BHL

  1. 1. Engaging the citizen scientist in content enhancement for BHL Trish Rose-Sandler, William Ulate, Max Seidman, Mary Flanagan, Geoffrey Belknap, Victoria Van Hyning, Jim O'Donnell TDWG 2015 Nairobi, Kenya
  2. 2. Introduction This presentation will discuss two current crowdsourcing activities that the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) has initiated. • Zooniverse platform – Science Gossip • Two online games – Beanstalk and Smorball
  3. 3. Zooniverse platform (
  4. 4. Zooniverse platform (
  5. 5. Science Gossip (
  6. 6. Why we are doing this? • Content enhancement. • We want to search the data in ways that we currently can't. • Engage new audiences with BHL content outside of our own portal users.
  7. 7. Crowdsourcing • Crowdsourcing is a way to tackle known tasks with limited staff when we don't have too many resources
  8. 8. Why we are doing this?
  9. 9. Illustrations discovery, tagging and description • Illustration discovery is the need, • Illustration tagging is the task and • Science Gossip is the site in the Zooniverse platform.
  10. 10. Science Gossip – Zooniverse • Partner with a team in UK called ConSciCom (Constructing Scientific Communities) that analyses Citizen Science of the 19th Century and the 21st Century. – ConSciCom provided the Subject Expertise, – BHL provided the content (19th Century Periodicals) and – Zooniverse provided the platform (and IT Support) in which users are asked to classify and describe natural history illustrations from 19th century periodicals found within the BHL.
  11. 11. • Step 1. Are there illustrations on the page? • Step 2. Ask users to draw boundaries around an illustration in the page • Step 3. Classify it. • Step 4. Mark species, inscriptions and contributors • Step 5. Talk! - A key piece to user engagement! Quality control. Frequent users turned into moderators. FAQ creators.
  12. 12. Advantages • Details of Talk – After seeing in action, giving heavy users a place to commune with other taggers. First time comments around BHL content from an audience that was mostly new to BHL. • We had a labor-ready workforce in the Zooniverse platform was already formed, they had the critical mass community. • Took a moderate quantity of our own resources and time to develop because of the possibility of leveraging the platform that already existed – website up in a couple of months. • Embedded quality control • Experience in different fields by each of the stakeholders
  13. 13. Disadvantages • Challenge of having to handle multiple verifications.
  14. 14. Beanstalk and Smorball
  15. 15. How does it work?
  16. 16. Best Serious Game Award at the Boston Festival of Indie Games 2015
  17. 17. Thank you • Trish Rose-Sandler Principal Investigator Purposeful Gaming and BHL • Smorball and Beanstalk were designed as part of the Purposeful Gaming and BHL project, which explores how digital games can make scanned content more accessible and searchable for cultural institutions. • Based at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri, “Purposeful Gaming and BHL” was established in 2013 through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant and includes partners at Harvard University, Cornell University, and The New York Botanical Garden.