Crowdsourced Tagging & Transcription for Cultural Heritage Institutions

by Michael Radmacher



Describing, managing and making content discoverable poses serious organizational challenges for libraries, archives, museums (LAMs), and researchers.  Describing scholarly research material is not a new field of practice for LAMs, however, tracking the key who, what, when, where and how descriptors for the ever expanding corpus of digital objects has proven to be an exceedingly complex challenge.  In the past, when the digital revolution was only burgeoning, LAMs typically viewed collection stewardship as ending with digitization instead of it being the beginning of a whole new life cycle (Enis, 2015).  Today LAMs better understand digital curation and how the sheer volume of digital resources, in relation to the funding and staffing resources available in cultural heritage institutions, do not match; in order to fully reveal the richness of their digital collections LAMs cannot rely on institutional resources alone.  To help fill this resource gap LAMs have turned to the comparably affordable and easy to scale power of the crowd. This short paper includes a brief overview of a handful of projects that exemplify how LAMs are harnessing the augmenting potential of crowd-sourced metadata and its future-oriented uses in cultural heritage institutions.


Full Paper (PDF File)



Michael Radmacher


Michael Radmacher is the current Stack Maintenance supervisor at McPherson Library at the University of Victoria. He is also a current MLIS student at San Jose State University iSchool focusing his studies on Academic Librarianship and Digital Scholarship. Michael received his BA (Political Science) at the University of Regina, and MA (Political Science) at the University of Victoria. After working his first library job during his undergrad, Michael realized that information science and librarianship was the profession for him; the blend of research, learning/teaching, and community outreach satisfies his intellectual curiosity and desire to serve.