The project leaders and book sprint participants of the AHRC-funded Collective Wisdom project are excited to announce that an 'early access' version of the book we wrote in March – April 2021 is now available.
The Collective Wisdom Handbook: perspectives on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage was written in two week-long book sprints by 16 collaborators from the US and the UK, brought together with funding from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. Our aim was to write a comprehensive, practical and authoritative guide to crowdsourcing and digitally-enabled participation projects in the cultural heritage sector. We want it to be an effective road map for cultural institutions using crowdsourcing and a source of insights into the ‘behind the scenes’ work required for participatory projects for researchers and volunteers alike.
Publishing this early version of our open access book reflects our core values as a project and as members of a wider community of practice. We believe that if we're working in a field built on voluntary contributions and with material freely shared by others, others should be able to freely access our work too.
This (probably) isn't the final version of the book, not least because it was also important to us that we opened this first version up for comment and discussion from anyone interested in crowdsourcing, citizen science, citizen history, digital / online volunteer projects, programmes, tools or platforms with cultural heritage collections. Depending on how people engage with our 'community review' process, we could make substantial updates or just finesse the text.
There are some tweaks to make (e.g. citation formatting) – and perhaps more, if we find a formal publisher for the final book or find that we can make the text more concise with the benefit of time and distance from the original writing. The publication has been through a production process via the Book Sprint facilitators to produce the version you'll see on pubpub (although there's a formatting issue in the epub version that means case studies aren't set apart from the rest of the text). While we work on an update, we hope you’ll forgive these small issues in the name of providing access and the ability to comment on our text sooner rather than later.