Bodleian Libraries are looking for your help!

Us New Yorkers all know how successful the NYPL Menu Program has been in such a short time. Librarians and other Digital Humanities specialists have had equally as amazing results in both large and small crowdsourcing projects, large AND small. Help out the Bodleian Libriaries with some amazing collections!


Via InfoDocket/ Library Announcement:

Members of the public are being asked to help describe 4,000 music pieces from the Bodleian Libraries’ collections, as part of a new project launched today.

What’s the score at the Bodleian? ( is the first crowd-sourcing project undertaken by the Bodleian Libraries. About 4,000 pieces of popular piano music from the mid-Victorian period have been digitized and made available online. The music was mostly produced for domestic entertainment, and many of these scores have illustrated or decorative covers and advertisements. The collection has never been included in the library’s catalogue, and its exact contents are therefore unknown.

By visiting the website, ‘citizen librarians’ can help with describing the scores and contributing to the creation of an online catalogue. It takes about 10 minutes to fill in the online form which constitutes the description of an item. No knowledge of reading music or playing an instrument is required to get involved. People just need to look at the images of the scores and write down the information they see. However, the project also encourages performances of this music and hopes to provide links to audio or video recordings.


The Bodleian’s printed music collections comprise over half a million items, but only about 20% of these are represented in the online catalogue. For the most part, this large body of material is therefore difficult to explore and use, and some of it is largely unknown. The library is looking for ways to make this rich collection more easily discoverable. A recent study has shown that creating professional library-standard records for the items would be prohibitively expensive and would take years to accomplish. It would also only make information about the material available, while the scores themselves would remain on the shelves in the book stacks and be available only to those who can make the journey to Oxford. By digitising the scores and making these available online, the collection will be opened up and made available to anyone who has an internet connection and an interest in nineteenth-century music.

Help the Smithsonian identify these excellent (women) scientists!

Elizabeth Sabin Goodwin was a scientific illustrator for Science Service in the 1920s. Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Every March, the Smithsonian Institution Archives celebrates Women’s History Month with a digital gallery release of stupendous female scientists, science journalists and engineers. Unfortunately many of these photographs are unlabeled.  These ladies need to be celebrated not just for their photos, but for their achievements and histories!

The images come from a cache of records from a news organization called Science Service. Founded in 1921, Science Service popularized and disseminated scientific information. (It is now called the Society for Science & the Public.) ”It was kind of at the forefront of putting information about these women out there,” says Peters.

But with so many of the photos lacking identification, the Smithsonian Institution Archives decided it would reach out to the public for help in identifying and researching the scientists. Each March, a handful of largely unidentified portraits are posted to the Archives’ Flickr site.

Click here for the story with various Flickr links

Click here to help out!

Crowd-sourcing at its finest!

WebWise Recap and Miscellaney, Part 2

Day Two: Up bright and early, ready for breakfast and the keynote speaker, Mr. Levar Burton! Sat next to some very nice and enthusiastic Librarians during the morning nosh, all of which were talkative, welcoming, and motivational. Kudos to you, ladies–you give us newer Information folk hope for the future!

Levar was excellent as always, and right off a red-eye flight to boot! He reminded us the importance of storytelling, and even more the importance of preserving those stories for future generations. The fact that we tell stories makes us human, and its our responsibility as humans to continue to tell those tales.

After a break of product demonstrations by the likes of StoryCorps, The Mattress Factory, and Museum of the Moving Image, among others, we’re back in our seats ready to hear all about mobile devices and their applications for archival storytelling and preservation. Halsey Burgund explained a bit about his interactive art piece Scapes which encourages users to both contribute through and listen from their mobile devices in order to appreciate certain outdoor museum exhibits. Jason Casden talked a bit about WolfWalk, a mobile interface to the history of NCSU, its campus, and in turn, its students. Utilizing iOS, Casden demonstrated the capabilities of the apps, the work that went into creating it, and a bit about the varied (and sometimes unexpected) range of user demographics based on the queried information. Rob Stein, from the Indianapolis Museum of Art pondered how application designers (and soon the curators themselves) can create a museum mobile tour that not only guides a patron through exhibits orderly, but also gives them the chance to discover new knowledge organically while still appreciating the walls around them.

Although Webwise is all about utilizing and incorporating technology into libraries and museums, there was an overwhelming amount of referencing to crowd-sourcing, or as the afternoon speakers (Ben Brumfield, David Klevan, Ben Vershbow) were excited to refer to as nerd-sourcing– which boils down to locating and utilizing an enthusiastic user (or user groups) to aid in the cooperative online indexing/transcribing of various digital documents. The unique aspects of this system raises some interesting questions and quandaries:

  • how do you motivate people to provide minutes/hours/days of their time into a project that’s not even theirs?
  • how do you motivate others to join?
  • what are the elements of trust and quality control that you require for your project to finally be accessible (and trustingly re-searchable) to the public?

Other Posts in this series: Part 1, Part 3Part 4