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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crowdsourcing American History

Recently the U.S. Library of Congress posted over 3,000 non-copyrighted images from its collection to the popular photo-sharing web service Flickr. According to a statement on the LOC's web site, the reason for uploading is ""enhance our metadata."

Crowdsourcing, following on from social networking concepts like wiki communities, has become the latest phenomenon in web-based knowledge sharing computing. According the the LOC crowdsourcing is working.

By this method the national resource for images and history wants to improve the information attached to the photos, for the benefit of historical researchers and cultural posterity. The LOC figures if they throw the images out into the big wide electronic cloud hovering about us all, viewers will step up and offer particular knowledge about the people, the locations and the moment captured in those images.

"We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves," the LOC web post explains. "For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured."

To visit the LOC Photo set on Flickr go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress

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