18 March 2022
Looking back at LibCrowds: surveying our participants
'In the Spotlight' is a crowdsourcing project from the British Library that aims to make digitised historical playbills more discoverable, while also encouraging people to closely engage with this otherwise less accessible collection. Digital Curator Dr Mia Ridge writes...
If you follow our @LibCrowds account on twitter, you might have noticed that we've been working on refreshed versions of our In the Spotlight tasks on Zooniverse. That's part of a small project to enable the use of IIIF manifests on Zooniverse - in everyday language, it means that many, many more digitised items can form the basis of crowdsourcing tasks in the Zooniverse Project Builder, and In the Spotlight is the first project to use this new feature. Along with colleagues in Printed Heritage and BL Labs, I've been looking at our original Pybossa-based LibCrowds site to plan a 'graceful ending' for first phase of the project on LibCrowds.com.
As part of our work documenting and archiving the original LibCrowds site, I'm delighted to share summary results from a 2018 survey of In the Spotlight participants, now published on the British library's Research Repository: https://doi.org/10.23636/w4ee-yc34. Our thanks go to Susan Knight, Customer Insight Coordinator, for her help with the survey.
The survey was designed to help us understand who In the Spotlight participants were, and to help us prioritise work on the project. The 22 question survey was based on earlier surveys run by the Galaxy Zoo and Art UK Tagger projects, to allow comparison with other crowdsourcing projects, and to contribute to our understanding of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage more broadly. It was open to anyone who had contributed to the British Library's In the Spotlight project for historical playbills. The survey was distributed to LibCrowds newsletter subscribers, on the LibCrowds community forum and on social media.
Some headline findings from our survey include:
- Respondents were most likely to be a woman with a Masters degree, in full-time employment, in London or Southeast UK, who contributes in a break between other tasks or 'whenever they have spare time'.
- 76% of respondents were motivated by contributing to historical or performance research
Responses to the question 'What was it about this project which caused you to spend more time than intended on it?':
- Easy to do
- It's so entertaining
- Every time an entry is completed you are presented with another item which is interesting and
- illuminating which provides a continuous temptation regarding what you might discover next
- A bit of competitiveness about the top ten contributors but also about contributing something useful
- I just got carried away with the fun
- It's so easy to complete
- Easy to want to do just a few more
- Felt I could get through more tasks
- Just getting engrossed
- It can be a bit addictive!
- It's so easy to do that it's very easy to get carried away.
- interested in the [material]
The summary report contains more rich detail, so go check it out!