Tag Archives: digitizing

Search me: what Mad Men and brave moles can do for historical records

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… leave your house after a dinner party is to start discussing the technical challenges presented by digitizing historical records.

To overcome this problem in the Digitalkoot project, we sacrificed thousands of cute moles: if volunteers failed to enter the correct words the poor moles fell to their digital deaths. (While we felt bad about manipulating people’s love for cartoon animals, we can still sleep at night because it was for a good cause.)

How to get people interested in history …

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The Great War Archive: could crowd conscription help?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… deal will not).

By the people, for the people

The issue is, I assume, one of cost. Accurately digitizing massive collections of records takes a huge amount of time and money if you have to pay people to do it. As we all know only too well, in the Europe of 2012 neither of these commodities is in abundant supply.

What I would like to see is greater reliance on the public for this huge task. As Digitalkoot has shown, when it comes to preserving the past, there are thousands of people …


Google Ngrams: in the beginning was the word search

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… universal knowledge. But, just occasionally, Google gets back to basics.

In 2004 Google started digitizing books. Since then, 15 million volumes have been digitized by OCR software into Google’s virtual library. Recently, Harvard scholars Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel decided to try and turn this literary data-mountain into something “useful and accessible”. The result is Google Ngram viewer : a tool that searches and graphs the frequency of words contained in over 5 …


Heather Chaplin: gamification’s worst nightmare?

Posted on by Tommaso De Benetti

… reviewing places. Closer to home there are the thousands of volunteers who’ve contributed to digitizing Finland’s National Library by playing the games we developed for Digitalkoot.

While the views of Heather Chaplin go hand in hand with the complaints of graphic designers, they don’t take into account that gamification works on many levels and for many different products and platforms. So where should we draw the line? Is gamification just another “stunted adolescent” or …

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Microtask: we love the forms you hate

Posted on by Tommaso De Benetti

Paper forms are the bane of the modern workplace. They clutter-up our wireless, iPad-glass-and-steel offices like ghosts of the pre-digital past. As well as ruining the décor, forms are a terrible way to store data (just try “quick sorting” a full filing cabinet). Humankind has sent robots to Mars, mapped the human genome and even (in just 11 years) tracked down Osama …

Tags: crowd crowdsourcing digitizing Filing cabinet human iPad iPhone Mars Microsoft Excel microtask forms microwork Osama Bin Laden paper forms Paperless office structured data