Events and publications

Book sprint

Our original, pre-COVID plan was to hold a five day collaborative 'book sprint' (or writing workshop) at the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture in April 2020. We had also planned an October 2020 workshop at the British Library for up to 25 participants. However, like so many others, we are adapting our plans.

We're now running the online Book Sprints over two weeks in early 2021: March 15-19 and March 29-April 2, 2021.

Working with twelve other collaborators recruited via a call for participation, we'll write a high-quality book that provides a comprehensive, practical and authoritative guide to crowdsourcing and digitally-enabled participation projects in the cultural heritage sector. We aim to provide an effective road map for cultural institutions hoping to use crowdsourcing for the first time and a resource for institutions already using crowdsourcing to benchmark their work.

In the spirit of digital participation, we had planned to publish a commentable version of the book online with an open call for feedback from the extended international community of crowdsourcing practitioners, academics and volunteers. We were excited about including the expertise of those unable to attend the book sprint in our final open access publication, so we're still looking at ways to enable that.

The book sprint will close with a short debrief session to capture suggestions about gaps in the field and sketch the agenda for the closing workshop.

Workshop and white paper

We will hold a workshop to interrogate, refine and advance questions raised during the year and identify high priority gaps and emerging challenges in the field that could be addressed by future research collaborations. We had already planned some forms of remote participation alongside the in-person event, but now the entire event is likely to be online. Our plain to publish a white paper reporting on this workshop, outlining emerging, intractable and unsolved challenges that could be addressed by further funding for collaborative work remains.

The follow-up workshop will begin with a brief review of the book then focus on identifying priority areas for future developments in the field. These priority areas might include addressing issues such as: the challenges of maintaining platforms and integrating crowdsourced data into collections management systems, managing the provenance of data, the pros and cons of existing tools and platforms, working with existing metadata standards and newer standards such as IIIF and Web Annotations, meeting constantly changing participant expectations, and integrating emergent technologies such as active machine learning into user-friendly tasks. The white paper written after the workshop will synthesise these discussions, and identify areas for improvement and potential future collaboration.

Saving the tobacco crop, c 1933, National Library of Ireland