Things you should look at

Don’t have time to write anything about these, but here are three things I think you’ll be interested in:

– Digital NZ’s new site “Make it Digital” looks fantastic. From their “About” page:

Make It Digital is a place for people who are interested in making content digital. New Zealand is a small place with big ideas, and we need to be creating and digitising more content – be it our pictures, our stories, our 3D creations, or our knowledge and culture. Need some advice, got a digitisation project, got some expertise to contribute? This is the place for you.

– Mark Matienzo has posted on SlideShare his presentation, “Archives & the Semantic Web,” which was described as “mind-blowing.” You have been warned.

– I know readers of this blog will have opinions about today’s post on the Northwest History blog by Larry Cebula, “”Lick This”: LOC, Flickr, and the Limits of Crowd Sourcing,” which characterizes the Library of Congress’ experience on Flickr as a “disappointment” in terms of “adding useful metadata to historical documents.” I certainly have some strong opinions about the author’s conclusions (as people who follow me on Twitter know!), and having heard several presentations by the LOC staff who work with this project, I certainly don’t think that they consider the user contributions they have received to be disappointing. The final report on the LOC pilot reported that they had updated 500 catalog records with information “provided by the Flickr community” (with 4,615 images posted at that time). (Does anyone know if there are more recent stats on the LOC blog?) Mr. Cebula’s argument seems to be that in the images he looked at he saw very little (or almost no) information that he considered valuable, and much he found utterly worthless. I think it is perhaps the volume of notes, tags, and comments that are not “useful” that he finds problematic. For many people, including me and I think many at LOC, this large volume of non-“useful” content is a sign of a high level of engagement from the Flickr community–the same level of engagement that also results in the many “useful” contributions they have received from Flickr’s community of “passionate amateurs.” I think it is the ratio of useful to non-useful that is disappointing to Mr. Cebula.

I am hoping to give this a reasoned and considered response in a future post or comment on the NW History blog, but wanted to point it out to you in case you want to go over and add your own opinions. He says that he will “pick up the topic of crowdsourcing again in a future post” and he will point towards some archives that he believes are doing it “correctly.” The implication is that LOC on Flickr is doing it incorrectly, isn’t it? I think many of you will have opinions about that!

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