New Release: Collective Wisdom White Paper

We are delighted to share with you our Collective Wisdom White Paper focused on 5 core recommendations. This White Paper draws on the collaboratively-written Collective Wisdom Handbook: Perspectives on crowdsourcing in cultural heritage (the Handbook), and two follow-up workshops on ‘advanced questions for crowdsourcing in cultural heritage and the digital humanities’, in addition to the research and experience of its three authors and the generous work of peers across cultural heritage. The Collective Wisdom project aspired to synthesise expertise that until this point had been unpublished or was only available via grey literature, and convene knowledge exchange activities, to enable future practice. 

Read (and comment on) the Collective Wisdom White Paper here on the open source publishing platform PubPub – or, via Google Docs: Recommendations, Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage: a White Paper.   

As with previous outputs from the Collective Wisdom project, the White Paper will undergo a period of community review from now until 30 September, 2023. There are a few ways that readers can leave a trace on documents on the pubpub platform – you can highlight text, comment on specific lines, or comment on a document as a whole. You'll need to create a free pubpub account to do this –, or comment on the Google Docs version Recommendations, Challenges and Opportunities for the Future of Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage: a White Paper. If preferable, you can also send email feedback to Mia Ridge at

Preview of our recommendations

Infrastructure: Platforms need sustainability. Funding should not always be tied to novel development, but instead create opportunities for the maintenance and reuse of existing tools.

Evidencing and Evaluation: Support the creation of an evaluation toolkit for cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects, and to shift thinking about value in terms of output/scale/product.

Skills and Competencies: Create a self-guided skills inventory assessment resource, tool, or worksheet to support skills assessment, and develop workshops to support their integrity and adoption.

Communities of Practice: Fund informal meetups, low-cost conferences, peer review panels, and other opportunities for creating and extending community. They should have an international reach, e.g. beyond the UK-US limitations of the initial Collective Wisdom project funding.

Incorporating Emergent Technologies and Methods: Fund educational resources and workshops that surface opportunities and anticipate the consequences of proposed technologies.

For each theme in the recommendations, we articulate the impact of inaction in that area. We further suggest steps that practitioners, funders, and organisations can take to improve the area. 

We launched our review period for the Collective Wisdom White Paper at DH2023 in Graz, Austria at 4:00pm CEST on 13 July (session SP-T4C: Engaging the public). Our slides for 'Recommendations, challenges and opportunities for the future of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage: a white paper' are available online. Update, August 2023: thank you to everyone who commented on the White Paper at the conference – your feedback meant a lot to us, and helped us realise that many of our recommendations apply to other projects in digital cultural heritage / digital humanities.

In the meantime, we’re asking for your engagement with these Collective Wisdom White Paper recommendations at PubPub during this brief public comment period. In most recommendation sections, we’re requesting specific feedback. However, we welcome your thoughts both broadly and in targeted ways to make these recommendations practical, collaborative, and actionable. Our earlier post, Our book is now open for 'community review'. What does that mean for you? also talks about how you can provide feedback.

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