Categories
news

The crowdsourcing stakeholder view on 'Would you do anything differently with more time or resources?'

As promised, here are the responses to one of the two key questions we asked 'behind the scenes' workers or stakeholders on crowdsourcing, citizen science, citizen history, digital / online volunteer projects, programmes, tools or platforms with cultural heritage collections. Our thanks to everyone who contributed and helped spread the word!

Context: this survey had 32 responses, and this question had 28 responses. The first response was on February 9 and the last response was March 1, 2021. It represents a sample of convenience, dependent on the team's reach on social media, and the membership of mailing lists and newsletters we posted to. There's further information about these informal surveys at 'We want to hear from you!', and we're happy to answer questions about our project. We've tagged our survey results posts for quick reference.

I'm not sure!
No
More user testing before the event so we could fine tune the transcription process based on feedback.
With more time, I would have invited my citizen scientists to become involved in the project at the planning stage.
With more time and more resources it would have been very useful for the project results to expand the reach and raise retirement rates to see how language and diversity of tags changed if we could afford assistance in processing much higher amounts of exports; as well as afforded to work with translators to create mutlilingual versions of the project — and to translate tags in to various languages. With more time and resources we also could be running the gamified workflows at the same time as this project where currently it is stalled til funding can be found.
With more resources and time it would have been great to connect with other institutions that held constellation collections to run them through this project as well to further build the database past the 4,000 objects held by the Adler Planetarium. With more time and resources it also would have been ideal to incorporate the project in to more of the Adler's digital projects created during the closure pivot — as this would have allowed volunteers access to more information about not only the collections they worked with, but the way their efforts were being used to create virtual exhibitions, YouTube serials, and coloring books. We still plan to share this with volunteers but now it will likely be after the project has been wrapped for a time, and it would have been preferable to share those outputs while the project was active.
Maybe had a second additional PI who could have taken the project to published completion. 
I was aware from the onset that it is possible to achieve a lot more, and in a more elegant way, with greater time and resources. I taught myself how to use Github and established how we could use it to manage the workflow as it was the only tool we could think of that we had free access to that didn't rely on any other technical support than myself, since all of our technical/software team were prioritising the response to the COVID-19 lockdown. But actually we think this has been the project's strength, as it also demonstrates that anyone could replicate it and it provides us with an interesting data-set that challenges the academic norm of wanting everything to be perfect before putting things online. We have only undertaken minimal checking of the transcriptions prior to adding them online alongside the images of the original on the basis that the source material had no existing academic project in the pipeline, and although we had digital images and basic metadata, the collection was not able to be interrogated or searched, and so we adopted the approach that whatever we could get up online would be of benefit and might in turn provide a route to more detailed academic study since it is now much more discoverable. So although there are small tweaks we could make, I'm not sure we would do much, if anything differently. 
At some point, I need to make an online database. I also need help with data clean-up, which I don't think Zooniverse can help us with.
I'm going to add a day on metadata.. And I'd like to expand our experiential learning project to look at crowdsourcing projects hosted by more than one institution. 
Increase in-project search facility. Add greater copying facility for where forms often have info repeated eg Copyright entries largely repeated
Maintaining relationships with community-based participants is very labour intensive. With more resources, I'd have appointed someone specifically to manage this aspect of the project.
Yes, of course. I would have able to hire a manager to delegate part of my work.
I'd massively limit the amount of volunteers I engage with (around 50 virtually) and limit it to one country (currently engage with volunteers in Scotland, England, and NI). I'd utilise online forms (e.g. Google Forms, Microsoft Forms) instead of trying to train people on using Excel. I'd have a much clearer schedule for meeting with my volunteer managers. I'd have set aside more time for proofing and testing training materials.
incorporate data into bib records and finding aids and digital image database more quickly; incorporate individual and project level dashboards to monitor progress; more staff to support the running of project and volunteer questions/needs/suggestions; process data more quickly; communicate results more quickly; have more of a social media presence 
Make uploading content simple and easy. Enable a log in profile so that they can fill in their information once and easily upload content. I also think organisations need to continue to invest money and time into ongoing upkeep of digital products just like they do their buildings. Basically I would have lobbied for an ongoing development budget.
not substantially
With more time and resources I would promote crowdsourcing more actively, in particular through more and more frequent posts on social media. We have made the experience that articles in print media about the project's crowdsourcinging had only little success. It works pretty well if it's promoted in any kind of digital media, though.
Yes! Start a a non-profit. Hire staff (tech support; marketing).
I would have created a better local interest group. Wish list Having volunteered with IWM Lives of the First World War I'm now conscious that I'm among those who could contribute to Lives of the Second World War if it started now and not in the 2030's. I'm conscious that as an only child I'm the only person who has part of the narrative. 
Measuring the ANZACs has a lot of different types of documents. I think in retrospect I would have tried to machine classify document types more, and then focus on the transcription of specific forms in our collection. We were a bit scattershot at first, and allowed volunteers to see the whole manuscript folder essentially, but that contained many pages of less interest to us. I would also have invested in finding a NZ resident volunteer "leader" to a greater extent. My research colleague based in NZ has many skills, but lacked the time to do the sustained outreach to people in person that I think was necessary. I still hope to find some funding from local (NZ) sources to get education and outreach workers. This effort has been a bit derailed by the pandemic, but there are potential foundation type funds that could be used for that. 
The main limitation we have had has been obtaining images of the records we want transcribed, the ongoing pandemic means that photographing the pension records has taken longer than hoped. So with more time and resource would be helpful in employing additional photographers to gather the images in a shorter time frame. But otherwise, the Zooniverse platform is ideally suited to the kinds of transcription task we are undertaking.
more internal testing
I would insist on foregrounding data training. Learning on the job is one thing, thinking about what is around the corner is more helpful
Make a better plan for deployment of monitor devices
Better documentation from various developers who've been and gone! It sounds boring but it'd make long-term maintenance and platform decisions so much easier. I'd have loved to have another developer road test the documentation to highlight important missing information.
Team structure – dedicated PR role, not paid for the last 5 years out of my own pocket, increased integration with host organisations, more knowledge transfer sessions.
Even more careful assessment in iterative design between user needs and desires and organizational/project needs; continue to tirelessly advocate for more resources but also find the sweet spot of efficiencies, opportunities, responsibilities, and optimism; block time to write and reflect on process and learning; more boldly share thoughts and analysis; dive deeply into the unusual threads of observable behavior and the content, topics, tasks, and calls to action 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.