Seeding Engagement and Cultivating Volunteers through Crowdsourcing

What sparks learning and discovery with audiences in museum and archives collections? How can organizations simultaneously engage with and invite audiences to help improve their collections? Crowdsourcing is a method of gathering information and data generated by audiences using various technologies and systems of communication – think of it as a collaborative, distributed problem-solving exercise.

Learn from the crowdsourcing experience at the Smithsonian Transcription Center (TC), which has allowed the Smithsonian to use public participation to transcribe and review digitized collections improving access to collections while creating meaningful experiences for the public. These experiences have included learning and discovery with audiences in collections. TC Project Coordinator, Dr. Meghan Ferriter, will describe what has been achieved since the project began in June 2013. We will look at successful approaches, what can be done, and lessons learned from the Smithsonian’s crowdsourcing transcription project. She will also consider how the experiences of the TC can be scaled and adapted for any organization seeking to build and sustain public engagement with collections, whether in the digital or real world.

meghan_ferriterDr. Meghan Ferriter leads a program of engagement and optimizes collaborative transcription as Project Coordinator for the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Under her leadership of digital volunteers and staff, over 170,000 pages have been transcribed and reviewed by over 6,380 volunteers during the past three years, greatly increasing access to collections across the Smithsonian Institution. Meghan has been invited to discuss her success in establishing productive and meaningful audience experiences throughout the United States and United Kingdom. She helps organizations understand the ways communities form and navigate conflict; and how those groups behave as a result. Trained as an anthropologist and cultural historian, Meghan holds a PhD in Sociology. Her dissertation project explored sport media and audience reception. She loves problem solving around barriers in digital media and organizational culture and seeks opportunities to practically ground participatory culture to craft better online and in-person experiences for audiences.

Recorded: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Duration: 1 Hour 12 minutes


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