Crowdsourcing – the new outsourcing?

Libraries are often faced with daunting challenges, seemingly insurmountable tasks which they take on for the good of their communities in order to share their collections and wealth of information. These tasks include undertakings such digitising collections of precious materials, cataloguing them and making the information available online so that the widest possible user base has access to this information no matter where they are. The sheer volume of collection material dealt with in such projects is more often than not too overwhelming for the institution to complete entirely by itself and that’s where crowdsourcing comes in.

The National Library‘s Rose Holley (who formerly worked on the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program and is currently working on the Library’s Trove discovery service) has penned an interesting article in the latest issue of DLib Magazine which looks at the ways that crowdsourcing can be utilised to assist libraries in adding to and improving digital content, whether it be correcting text, adding comments or tagging resources. Community engagement has long been of great importance to libraries. Giving users the ability to interact in a meaningful way with the library and its resources, as well as other users in the community, in a Web 2.0 landscape is no less crucial to the continuing success of libraries.

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