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  3. Resource Sheet: Crowdsourcing Tools

Resource Sheet: Crowdsourcing Tools

All information for these resources was taken from the project’s websites about pages, documentation, or GitHub sites.


Crowdcrafting Website

  • A web-based service that invites volunteers to contribute to scientific projects developed by citizens, professionals or institutions that need help to solve problems, analyze data or complete challenging tasks that can’t be done by machines alone, and require human intelligence.
  • Anyone can create a new project or contribute to an existing project in Crowdcrafting.
  • Each project has an information page that has basic descriptions of what, why, how, and who, along with contact information.
  • Users can publish updates on the project, as well as keep track of how far along the project is.
  • Users can set tasks that need to be completed.

Crowdcrafting is useful for crowdsourced projects revolving around images, sounds, videos, PDFs, or tweets. You can then choose whether you would like contributors to classify, describe, count, or identify the items.

Things to watch out for:

  • Crowdcrafting was made by scientists, not by social scientists or humanists.
  • The metadata you can input is limited to very basic descriptions of the project and your goals, and the text fields have character limits.
  • There is no review stage – the owner of a project can’t review transcription, classification, etc. before the project marked as completed.
  • You cannot upload files from your desktop because they do not host files themselves—you have to use Dropbox or Flickr.

Project that uses Crowdcrafting:

Crime, Sex, and Violence

Crime, Sex, and Violence examines the use of crime, sex, violence, and alcohol in pulp comics from the golden age of comics, 1940-60. The project presents you with a single page that you have to classify as either crime, sex (anything romantically taboo), violence, alcohol (whenever illegal substances are used), advertisement, or none.



Scripto Website

  • Offered as a plugin for Omeka, WordPress, and Drupal, or any other existing content management system that incorporates document, image, and/or multimedia files.
  • Allows registered users to view digital files and transcribe them with an easy-to-use toolbar, rendering that text searchable.
  • Includes versioning history and editorial controls to make public contributions more manageable.
  • Requires a dedicated instance of MediaWiki.
  • Adds the power of wiki technology to the content management system in order to facilitate the transcription of documents.
  • Has two principal functions: editing and transcribing.

Scripto is useful for:

  • Transcription of images and documents.
  • Institutions and organizations like libraries and museums that have small- and large-scale transcription projects.

Things to watch out for:

  • MediaWiki has a slight learning curve.

Project that uses Scripto:

Papers of the War Department (PWD)

PWD has made 45,000+ documents of the early War Department (1784-1800) freely available. There is extensive and searchable metadata linked to digitized images of each document. Apart from simply transcribing, contributors also help improve the searchability of documents. PWD uses a slightly customized version of Scripto.

You might also want to check out Making History – Transcribe and DIYHistory. Both projects use the Scripto plugin with Omeka.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 4.04.07 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 4.04.24 PM
This is the administrative view of PWD’s front end


Scribe Website

  • Began at NYPL Labs and Zooniverse.
  • Configurable, open-source framework for setting up community transcription projects.
  • Establishes the foundation for a developer to configure and launch a project more easily than starting from scratch.
  • Breaks the work of the crowd into three task flows: marking (identifying document structure), transcription (data entry), and verification (quality control).
  • Accuracy is further ensured by automated transcription analysis that helps determine consensus among contributors.

Scribe is useful for:

  • Transcription projects for handwritten or other OCR-resistant texts.
  • Projects seeking to extract highly structured data from a set of digitized materials (manuscripts, ledgers, catalog cards, etc.).
  • Projects that involve a division of labor intended to lower barriers to participation and to ensure higher quality results.
  • In order to ensure Scribe is correct for your project, you should make sure that all three of the following apply to you:
    • You have a collection of digital images that you’d like to extract information from, but you don’t have the resources to do so yourself
    • You are not looking for full text transcription of your images; rather, you would like to collect specific partial text or metadata from your images
    • You or a member of your team has basic web development experience, specifically with creating a Rails web application

Things to watch out for:

  • Requires a developer/someone familiar with GitHub and code.

Project that uses Scribe:

Emigrant City

The Emigrant Bank was founded 1850 by members of the Irish Emigrant society to serve the needs of the Irish immigrant community in New York. The bank grew to become the seventh largest bank in the US, and donated valuable historical and genealogical archival records documenting the lives of immigrant families.

The goal of Emigrant City transcription initiative is to produce structured, building-level records for ~6,400 digitized mortgages. Contributors can mark, transcribe, or verify documents within the collection.


Updated on July 31, 2018

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