Field Notes: An Exploration of Crowdsourcing Platforms for Natural History Collections
Cohen, Lauren Rachel
MetadataShow full item record
Drawing from a long tradition of public participation and recent innovations in digital technology, natural history museums (NHMs) are transforming the way they conduct research and engage their audience. Digitization is unlocking a wealth of biodiversity data and expanding the use of natural history collections (NHCs) across the globe. Online citizen-science crowdsourcing is imploring the aid of a massive network of amateur-experts to assist with the transcription of historical records which cannot be completed by computers. Crowdsourcing platforms such as Zooniverse, DigiVol, and the Smithsonian Transcription Center are attracting a new generation of citizen-scientists and increasing the rate NHMs are able to generate and process biodiversity data. This symbiotic relationship is leading to digitized collections becoming more accessible to researchers and advancing our understanding of anthropogenic changes taking place today; expanding the user’s appreciation of science by allowing them to actively participate in the discovery process; and resulting in high-quality data for peer-reviewed publications. This research project will explore citizen-science crowdsourcing from its rich history through current use; pinpointing the best online platforms to aid with natural history collection transcription; while also revealing the benefits and concerns associated with amateur-expert powered projects.