Crowdsourcing as a Means of Authority Assessment and Enhancement for Cultural Heritage Description
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As the rise of crowdsourcing represents a shift away from the conventional hallmarks of knowledge work – individual researchers asserting critical and interpretive authority over artifacts, corpora, and data sets – a question looms over one of the most jealously guarded domains of information description and classification: what is possible when crowdsourcing – a decentralized, constructivist research methodology – is brought to bear on cultural heritage authority records such as subject headings, controlled vocabularies, and thesauri? As an ancillary project of the larger Project Andvari initiative, an NEH-funded project to establish an aggregation portal for art and archives of the early medieval pre-Christian northern European periphery, the project team developed a crowdsourcing approach to both assess the value of and identify additional concepts for a linked open data iconographic thesaurus to be implemented for the future web-based platform. Through active collaboration with the British Museum, a crowdsourcing application was developed using the open-sourced PYBOSSA application as part of the larger MicroPasts initiative.