That Time When You Learn Something New and it Changes Your Life Completely

As many of my digital history classmates know, we learn new things everyday. Things I never knew were out there on the interwebs. This week we talked about social media and crowdsourcing.

For those who do not know, like myself, crowdsourcing solicits and combines data by users of the internet to help complete a project. Not the clearest definition, but in general terms, crowdsourcing takes data produced by everyone that has access to the internet to aid in some type of work. Jeff Howe, which we read in our class, provides a good explanation of crowdsourcing and its uses. Additionally, Tevor Owens also wrote about crowdsourcing that can help to understand what it is.

Here are some sites that are good examples of crowdsourcing: Old Weather and Operation War Diary. There are many other examples of this, but these are two we talked about in class.

And here is where the mind-blowing fact comes in.

Ever have to do a reCAPTCHA to prove you aren’t a robot? It’s one of those little boxes you have to fill that are unreadable numbers and letters. While it protects your information, it is also a crowdsourcing project. :O I know, right? I don’t even know what to think anymore.

How is this crowdsourcing you ask? Well, those little boxes that we fill out are actually of books that are being transcribed and digitized by no one other than internet users!

What. Is. Life.

What we do when we fill out the reCAPTCHA is transcribing text that is hard to read. The heads behind the project compare what responses were given to find the most accurate transcription of the text. This is insanity at the highest level! But this is also a great example of what we can learn by using the internet. History can be boring, but it can also bring many together to transcribe old text. We are all connected in some way or another.



  1. Pingback: That Time When You Learn Something New and it Changes Your Life Completely | The Trials and Tribulations of An Aspiring Historian

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