Sharing Public History Work: Crowdsourcing Data

Crowdsourcing was one of the topics at the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ 2012 WebWise Conference. Crowdsourcing is increasing public interest in collections, improving collections management workflows, and becoming easier thanks to several open source software programs. We were pleased to present on it again via a WebWise Reprise webinar.

Recorded:  Wednesday, June 14, 2012

Duration: Approximately 90 minutes

Sharon M. Leon, Ph.D., Director of Public Projects and Associate Professor, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University (
PowerPoint presentation “Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage: Some Background and New Tools”

Ben Brumfield, Software Engineer, FromThePage Open-Source Transcription Software ( and twitter @benwbrum)
PowerPoint presentation “Lessons from Small Crowdsourcing Projects”
WebWise presentation recording on YouTube
Transcript of the presentation on Ben’s blog Collaborative Manuscript Transcription

Hosts: Kevin Cherry, Senior Program Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services and Kristen Laise, Vice President for Collections Care Program, Heritage Preservation

Resources and Projects Mentioned During Webinar:

  • Scripto, an open source tool that allows users to contribute transcriptions to online documentary projects
  • Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source platform for managing and sharing digital heritage
  • Scribe, a framework for generating crowd sources transcriptions of image based documents
  • Citizen Archivist Dashboard, a project of the National Archives and Records Administration that uses crowdsourcing
  • Papers of the War Department 1784-1800, a community transcription project
  • What’s on the Menu, a New York Public Library project to transcribe historical restaurant menus
  • Direct Me NYC: 1940, a New York Public Library project to use old phone books to unlock the 1940 Federal Census
  • Tagasauris, provides media annotation services and  has teamed up with The Museum of the City of New York to annotate its archives through a NEH funded grant
  • Steve, an IMLS funded museum social tagging project
  • What’s the Score at the Bodleian, a project that enlists the wider community to help describe digitized scores in the collection of Oxford University’s Bodlian Library
  • Waisda?, a video labeling game launched in 2009 where users receive points for tagging

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For closed captions, please access this via this link.