crowdsourcing and communities

Women Singing at a Table (Waulking the Cloth) by Keith Henderson
Women Singing at a Table (Waulking the Cloth)
by Keith Henderson

I have been in several meetings this week discussing crowdsourcing and citizen science models for Edinburgh. The terms are often being used interchangably even though they really shouldn’t.

Remembering my time at Oxford  I was thinking of the Oxford Community Collection model. This is a model of working we developed to support any organisation in creating a shared collection of digital asssets through online crowdsourcing and personal interaction.

The beauty of the model is that it combines large-scale online crowd-sourcing with personal, individual interaction. The model allows contributors to choose the way they contribute to a collection, offering those who lack the resources, ability, or opportunity to use computers an opportunity to be part of a digital initiative, sharing their material with the world.

The model also includes a real emphasis on planning for with sustainable success. Being part of and interacting with a community is central. This is described and discussed in more detail in RunCoCo: How to Run a Community Collection Online (2011), a report which presents a simple A, B, C of advice for projects:

  • Aim for Two-way engagement;
  • Be part of your community;
  • Challenge your assumptions.

In finding a unique approach at Edinburgh the fact that we have our successful MOOC learner communities has been mentioned. It’s no longer about what you can get 100,000 people to watch or read, it’s about what you can get them to make , do, add and share. And it’s about being part of your community. More on this later.

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