Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crowd-Sourcing Your Research

A project at University College London has opened up new opportunities for research in the humanities: crowd-sourcing.  While those of us in the humanities typically imagine our research as a mostly solitary undertaking, a recent experiment with crowd-sourcing the transcription of Jeremy Bentham’s papers has opened a range of possibilities – and concerns. A recent article in the New York Times in points out: “Other initiatives have recruited volunteers online, but the Bentham Project is one of the first to try crowd-sourced transcription and to open up a traditionally rarefied scholarly endeavor to the general public… This experiment, part of the way technology is revolutionizing the study of the humanities, has the potential to cut years, even decades, from the transcription process while making available to the public and the general pool of scholars miles of documents that are now off limits, difficult to read or unsearchable.”

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