BIS Cluster Seminar: John Campbell

16 October, 2015 - 10:30 to 12:00
Sir James Foots Building #47A, Room 141


Crowdsourcing is increasingly used by cultural and heritage institutions to engage volunteers in projects that enhance digital collections without regulation by contract or the need for monetary compensation. This study examined the motivations of high performing volunteers to a newspaper digitisation crowdsourcing project initiated by the National Library of Australia. The contributions of this paper are threefold. Firstly, the findings extend participant motivation research into the non-profit contexts of cultural and heritage institutions. Volunteers were found to be motivated by a variety of personal, collective and external factors. Moreover these motivations changed over time; volunteers are initially motivated largely by intrinsic motivations, but both intrinsic and extrinsic factors play a critical role in their continued participation. Secondly, volunteer contributions were shown to range from basic data shaping (e.g., correcting digitised OCR data) to more complex knowledge shaping activity (e.g., shaping historical data through tagging and commenting, but also through the development of norms and social roles). Their locus of motivation also changed from internal to external sources in line with these different kinds of contributions. Thirdly, the important role of shaping system affordances and developing social mechanisms for ongoing participation are illustrated. Understanding and addressing these motivations will lead to better crowdsourcing designs that facilitate broader and sustained collaboration between cultural institutions and digital volunteers.

Sultana Lubna Alam and John Campbell, National Institute for Systems Innovation, University of Canberra