Crowdsourcing and Scholarly Culture: Understanding Expertise in an Age of Popularism

Alan Dix, Rachel Elizabeth Cowgill, Christina Bashford, Simon McVeigh, Rupert Ridgewell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The increasing volume of digital material available to the humanities creates clear potential for crowdsourcing. However, tasks in the digital humanities typically do not satisfy the standard requirement for decomposition into microtasks each of which must require little expertise on behalf of the worker and little context of the broader task. Instead, humanities tasks require scholarly knowledge to perform and even where sub-tasks can be extracted, these often involve broader context of the document or corpus from which they are extracted. That is the tasks are macrotasks, resisting simple decomposition. Building on a case study from musicology, the In Concert project, we will explore both the barriers to crowdsourcing in the creation of digital corpora and also examples where elements of automatic processing or less-expert work are possible in a broader matrix that also includes expert microtasks and macrotasks. Crucially we will see that the macrotask–microtask distinction is nuanced: it is often possible to create a partial decomposition into less-expert microtasks with residual expert macrotasks, and crucially do this in ways that preserve scholarly values.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMacrotask Crowdsourcing
Subtitle of host publicationEngaging the Crowds to Address Complex Problems
EditorsVJ Khan, K Papangelis, I Lykourentzou, P Markopoulos
ISBN (Electronic)9783030123345
ISBN (Print)9783030123338
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameHuman-Computer Interaction

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