Crowdsourcing and the Rise of the Volunteer Humanist

September 27, 2013 (Friday) / 9:00 am12:00 pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion, 6th floor, Penn Library, 3420 Walnut Street

Crowdsourcing and the Rise of the Volunteer Humanist

Tim Causer

Transcribe Bentham, University College London

Ben Vershbow

NYPL Labs, New York Public Library

Jen Wolfe

DIY History, University of Iowa Libraries

Every day, volunteers around the world go online to help with large-scale academic research projects. They transcribe, edit, and review archival collections, from Civil War diaries to old restaurant menus to the letters and papers of famous philosophers. They mark positions on maps, test new tools, and more. Will crowdsourcing change the scholarship we do in the humanities?

Might problems of quality control offset advantages of scale? What crowdsourcing projects are we likely to see in the future? Join the crowd at our fall symposium for a discussion with three important leaders in the field.

"Many hands make light work. Many hands together make merry work": Transcribe Bentham Crowdsourcing Manuscript Collections
Tim Causer is a research associate at the Bentham Project, University College London, where he runs Transcribe Bentham, the award-winning crowdsourced project to digitize the unpublished manuscripts of the British philosopher, jurist, and social reformer Jeremy Bentham. Causer also is a historian of convict transportation.

The Great Data Migration
Ben Vershbow is manager of NYPL Labs, a digital innovation unit at the New York Public Library that works with curators to create tools that reimagine the interaction, understanding, and reuse of research library collections and data. He also runs Group Theory, a Brooklyn-based performance company he cofounded with Dorit Avganim.

Crowdsourcing Transcription: DIY Tips for Building a Better Audience   
Jen Wolfe is the Digital Scholarship Librarian for Digital Research & Publishing at the University of Iowa, where she was the driving force in the development of DIY History, which began as a project to crowdsource Civil War diaries and letters and now extends to the Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts project.