Crowdsourced Research in the Humanities

(Theory and Practice)

​​Convenor: Samantha Blickhan

Hashtag: #CRiH and #DHOxSS2019

Computers: Please bring your own laptop (no tablets please)

Abstract

This workshop will consider the opportunities of collaborative research methods, particularly crowdsourcing, in the context of digital humanities. Aimed at researchers of all backgrounds, participants will engage with current and historical issues around crowdsourcing; propose, evaluate and discuss individual projects of their own making; and learn about best practices for social engagement with the crowd,  long-term project health and sustainability. Ultimately, participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to approach crowdsourced research in a way that prioritizes data quality without sacrificing ethical collaborative research practices. 

 

Over the course of the week, in addition to discussion and reflection, participants will design and build a crowdsourcing project with their own dataset, using the Zooniverse Project Builder. Participants should arrive for the workshop prepared with a project idea and some sample data (for example, 50 digital images of objects, books, or contents of archival collections) - note: an idea dataset is one for which the same line of questioning can be applied to each image. Members of the Zooniverse team will be present to offer assistance in project building. Participants will discuss their projects and the design and building process with the group.

Morning sessions on this strand will be lecture and discussion-based, afternoon sessions will incorporate theoretical concepts from morning sessions into participants’ work on their own crowdsourcing projects.

Experience necessary

No prior technical knowledge necessary. No previous experience with markup, XML, TEI or editing is assumed however some experience would be useful.

 

Convenor

Samantha Blickhan is the IMLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Citizen Science at the Adler Planetarium, working on transcription projects for the Zooniverse. She received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Royal Holloway, University of London, with a thesis on the paleography of British song notation in the 12th and 13th centuries. Her research interests include music and perception, and their relationships with writing systems, technology and pedagogy.

"I really appreciated the focus on practical exercises - I covered more and progressed my project further than I believed possible during the course of the workshops."

DHOxSS 2018 participant

TIMETABLE

 
 
 
 
 
 
Link to overview of the week's timetable including evening events.
Monday 22nd July
08:15-09:00

Registration (Sloane Robinson building)
Tea and coffee (ARCO building)
09:00-10:00

Opening Keynote (Sloan Robinson O'Reilly lecture theatre)

10:00-10:30

Refreshment break (ARCO building)

10:30-12:00

Group Introductions and Introductions to Crowdsourcing

Group introductions and an overview of the workshop, followed by a brief presentation examining the history of crowdsourced research in the Humanities, and providing an overview of the field in its current state. Includes time for small group work in which participants review existing crowdsourcing projects. 

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

12:00-13:30

Lunch (Dining Hall)
13:30-15:30

Zooniverse Project Builder

 

An introduction to the Zooniverse, the world's largest platform for crowdsourced research. Special focus on the Zooniverse Project Builder (https://www.zooniverse.org/lab), the do-it-yourself tool that lets anyone build their own crowdsourcing project for free. Participants will use this platform to build their own crowdsourcing projects over the course of the week.

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

15:30-16:00

 

Refreshment break (ARCO building)
16:00-17:00

Work on individual projects

 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan & various Zooniverse team members

Tuesday 23rd July
09:00-10:30
 
Crowdsourcing and Social Machines

This session will introduce participants to the theory and practice of social machines, and how they relate to those of crowdsourcing. Participants will look at examples of social machines, and engage in small-group activities such as designing social machines of their own.

 

Speaker: David De Roure

10.30-11:00
 
Refreshment break (ARCO building)

 

11:00-13:00
Workflows and development

A practical session in which we'll apply principals from the morning session to individual projects. We'll discuss how to translate research questions into dedicated tasks, and explore some best practices for creating workflows that are digestible, yet which also produce quality data. 

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

13:00-14:30
Lunch (Dining Hall)
14:30-15:30
Work on individual projects

 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan & various Zooniverse team members

15:30-16:00
Refreshment break (ARCO building)

 

16:00 - 17:00
 
Lectures (various venues)
Wednesday 24th July

09:00-10:30  
 
Inclusivity and Ethics in Crowdsourcing

 

This session will introduce some best practices for building projects aimed at a broad audience, specifically how to avoid workflow, question and design choices that result in unintentional barriers to entry for some volunteers. We will also discuss ethics in crowdsourcing and specifically ask: what (if anything) do project owners owe their volunteers? This session will also touch on the importance of openness, including open data, code, and results.

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

10.30 -11:00
 
Refreshment break (ARCO building)
11:00-13:00

Project review and revision

 

In this interactive session, we’ll break into groups to provide review for each other’s projects, a small-scale version of Zooniverse beta review, a process that is required for projects to fully launch. After feedback is given, we’ll discuss the process of receiving and reviewing feedback and how to implement that feedback into a project.

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

13:00-14:30
Lunch (Dining Hall)
14:30 - 15:30  

 

Work on individual projects

 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan & various Zooniverse team members

15:30-16:00

Refreshment break (ARCO building)
16:00-17:00

 

Lectures (various venues)

Thursday 25th July

 

09:00-10:30
Communicating Results

This session will focus on presenting and publishing data once a project is complete, but will also discuss the process of sharing results while a project is still ongoing. Will also focus on making data useful and accessible for academic and non-academic audiences.

 

Speakers: Dr Philip Durkin. Deputy Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary

 

10.30-11:00
 
Refreshment break (ARCO building)

11:00-13:00

Sustainability and Communication

Participants will learn about and discuss best practices for long-term project sustainability. A major component of project sustainability is communication and interaction with volunteers, so the session will include an in-depth introduction to Talk, the Zooniverse message board system.

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

13:00-14:30

Lunch (Dining Hall)
14:30 - 15:30
Project Review and Revision

In this session, participants will have hands-on experience with the Zooniverse Talk board. We will practice responding to user questions, both about the Zooniverse platform and the research behind the project.

 Speaker: Samantha Blickhan 
15:30-16:00
Refreshment break (ARCO building)

 

16:00-17:00
 
Lectures (various venues)
​​

Friday 26th July

09:00-10:30
Exporting Project Data

In this session, participants will learn about working with project results, including how to export data from the Project Builder, an overview of the data format, and a few general approaches to working with these data. 

 

 Speaker: Samantha Blickhan 

10.30-11:00
 
Refreshment break (ARCO building)
11:00-13:00
Presentation of Projects and Group Discussion

Individuals will present their final projects to the group and discuss what they’ve learned, and what they might want to do differently in future projects. Will also be an opportunity to discuss ways they can incorporate crowdsourcing into future research, or within home institutions. 

 

 Speaker: Samantha Blickhan 

 
13:00-14:30

Lunch (Dining Hall)
14:30-15:30

Wrap-Up Session: Questions & Feedback

This will be an opportunity to ask questions and share any final thoughts about the course.

15:30-16:00
Refreshment break (ARCO building)
 
16:00-17:00
 
Closing plenary (O'Reilly lecture theatre)
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