Crowdsourced Research in the Humanities

Theory and practice

 

​​Convenor: Samantha Blickhan

Hashtag: #CRiH and #DHOxSS20

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

Abstract

This workshop will consider the opportunities of collaborative research methods in the context of digital humanities. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to approach crowdsourced research to prioritize data quality without sacrificing ethical collaborative research practices. 

 

Intended outcomes

Participants will design and build a crowdsourcing project with their own dataset, using the Zooniverse Project Builder. They will leave with a general knowledge of the history and current state of academic crowdsourcing in the humanities, and an understanding of best practices for designing, building, and managing crowdsourcing projects, including iterative design, community management, and an understanding of ethics as it relates to the practice of crowdsourcing. They will gain experience working with outcomes of Zooniverse projects, making use of the newly-expanded suite of tools for humanities crowdsourcing projects. Participants will have a good understanding of the Zooniverse Project Builder platform, and should be able to communicate its use to others once they have completed this course.

Experience necessary

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

 

Computer and software requirements

 

Please bring your own laptop (no tablets please).

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.

Advance reading list (optional)

 
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.

"It was the perfect mix between hands-on and lectures, I especially liked that a product (Crowdsource project) had been created. Sam was very relaxed and professional."

DHOxSS 2019 participant

TIMETABLE

 
 
 
 
 
 
Monday, 13th July
08:15-09:00

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

Opening Keynote (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

Getting Started

 

Participants will start the process of building their own crowdsourcing projects, using the data they brought to the workshop. Zooniverse team members will be present to offer additional support.

Tuesday, 14th July
09:00-10:30
 
Project goals, data overview and big-picture planning

In this session, participants will develop a sense of what constitutes a 'project life cycle', with particular focus on identifying research aims (why does your data need transcription in the first place?), dividing tasks across disparate data sets, and prioritization of specific data within a project. How does the information you already have about your data set affect the process of project building?

 

Speaker: TBC

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. 

Additionally, this session will include an in-depth look at text transcription projects and the ways project builders can approach data collection, including an introduction to ALICE, the Zooniverse's new tool for viewing and editing results of text transcription projects.

 

Speaker: TBC

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

 

Time to work on the crowdsourcing projects participants will be building over the course of the week.

 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan and various Zooniverse team members

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

 

16:00 - 17:00
 
Additional sessions (various venues)
Wednesday, 15th 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: TBC

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

 

Time to work on the crowdsourcing projects participants will be building over the course of the week.

 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan & various Zooniverse team members

15:30-16:00

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

 

Additional sessions (various venues)

Thursday, 16th July

 

09:00-10:30
Communication & Sustainability

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. This session will include information on presenting and publishing data, both formally (when a project is complete) and informally (via ongoing updates to volunteers during the data collection phase). It will also focus on making data useful and accessible for academic and non-academic audiences.

 

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

10.30-11:00
 
Refreshment break (ARCO building)

11:00-13:00

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

13:00-14:30

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

This is the final session before Friday presentations! 

Supervised by Samantha Blickhan & various Zooniverse team members

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

 

16:00-17:00
 
Additional sessions (various venues)

Friday, 17th July

09:00-10:30
Exporting Project Data and using ALICE

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, including an opportunity to try out ALICE, a new app for reviewing and collaborative editing of data from Zooniverse transcription projects.

 

 Speaker: Samantha Blickhan and TBC 

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

An opportunity to discuss the week in review, ask questions, and share any final thoughts about the Project Builder, crowdsourcing, data exports, etc.

Speaker: Samantha Blickhan

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