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Crowdsourcing for transcription projects

What’s the Score at the Bodleian? featured at an event this weekend. The Crowdsourcing for transcription projects workshop was held at Merton College, Oxford, and saw a group of eager participants gather to hear about and discuss crowdsourcing in the context of transcription projects.

The program for the half-day event opened with three talks:

Arfon Smith (Zooniverse) couldn’t be at the event in person but luckily a podcast was available of his very relevant talk from the Beyond Collections 2011 conference last month. The talk provided a useful introduction not only to Zooniverse but to a number of issues to be considered by anyone setting out to conduct an academic crowdsourcing project.

David Tomkins described the What’s the Score at the Bodleian? project and showed some examples of the kind of material we are working with. He could also share some screenshots from the data collection interface which has just been made available to small group of testers.

Giles Bergel (Bodleian Ballads) talked about the work with ballads that has been going on at the Bodleian for a number of years. He presented some of the problems with the material, such as some text being very difficult to read for both humans and machines, and outlined some ideas for future projects.

The rest of the morning was spent productively discussing thoughts on crowdsourcing in general and ideas about transcription crowdsourcing in particular. It was agreed that this was beneficial, and that we’d like to continue the discussions and exchange of ideas. A first step will be to collect the ideas and references gathered during the day and circulate these, together with suggestions for further activities for the group.

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With a bit of music

June 17, 2011 1 comment
Greg Skidmore and Tim Hawken performing parlour songs

Greg Skidmore and Tim Hawken performing parlour songs

What’s the Score at the Bodleian? was introduced to a number of specially invited guests at a small event in Oxford this week.  About 40 people gathered in the Denis Arnold Hall in the University’s Faculty of Music to hear Bodley’s Librarian, Dr Sarah Thomas, introduce the project, after which three members of project staff each gave short presentations.  Martin Holmes outlined the Bodleian’s extensive music collections and explained some of the problems currently faced in making them more accessible; Ylva Berglund-Prytz gave an overview of crowd-sourcing as a relatively quick and economic means of capturing data, citing in particular some of the initiatives undertaken by Zooniverse; and David Tomkins gave an overview of the project methodology and its potential for additional enhancements in the future.  The presentations provided a platform for much informal discussion about the project and its future directions between guests and project staff over drinks and canapes.

Before and after the presentations, Greg Skidmore and Tim Hawken stole the show with a series of outstanding performances of parlour songs and piano pieces selected from the first batch of digitised scores for the project.

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