n.the process of soliciting contributions of content, goods, or services from volunteers typically via the internetHolley 2010Crowdsourcing uses social engagement techniques to help a group of people achieve a shared, usually significant, and large goal by working collaboratively together as a group. Crowdsourcing also usually entails a greater level of effort, time and intellectual input from an individual than just socially engaging. For example correcting the text of a newspaper article, or transcribing a complete shipping record involves more input than quickly adding a tag to a photograph, or rating a book on a scale of 1-5. Crowdsourcing relies on sustained input from a group of people working towards a common goal, whereas social engagement may be transitory, sporadic or done just once.Gerencser 2011, 163The success of crowdsourcing initiatives like Wikipedia and image-sharing services like Flickr led some archival managers to consider the value of the open and interactive nature of Web 2.0 applications.Flanagan and Carini 2012, 516This has led a wide range of professionals to consider acquiring content descriptive metadata through crowdsourcing at the item level.Flanagan and Carini 2012, 537Crowdsourcing metadata opens up the possibility of a broader range of input from widely varying perspectives.Franks 2013, 18Crowdsourcing involves using the general public to do research or other work, which may or not be paid.Santamaria 2013, 182Archivists have considered the possibility of user contributions to descriptive records for many years. Interest in crowdsourcing and user-contributed description has increased in recent years in response to the growth of social media tools.Gilliland 2014a, 127Social tagging and crowdsourcing may provide additional avenues for enhancing or even correcting less than optimal archival description, as well as contributing additional perspective to that description.Hager 2015, 18Those users contact the repository’s staff members who, after confirming the accuracy of the description, eagerly add the newly created, crowdsourced metadata to the item.Duff and Haskell 2015, 42The framework aims to analyze the types of relationships between user and archivist in crowdsourcing projects, such as the extent of user involvement in performing archival functions, and the role, control, and authority of archival professionals.
Crowdsourcing, a form of outsourcing, utilizes mass contributions and collaborations from the general public, rather than from traditional sources, such as employees or contractors. Crowdsourcing initiatives can be beneficial to archives by helping to identify objects, augment descriptive metadata, and assist in transcriptions.