Monday April 12, 2010

Working for the National Library in your pyjamas

What good is the internet? You might as well ask what good is speech? Or writing? All allow us to communicate and collaborate. The internet makes this possible in real time in spaces that are physically distant. Our tribe or team can be scattered around the world, but work together. In fact, the quantity and diversity of talent available makes the work not just possible, but better.

Last month Liam Wyatt talked about how hundreds of thousands of volunteers have created a free encyclopedia of 10 million articles in 250 languages in less than 10 years.

In 2008, the National Library of Australia looked to volunteers to help them digitise out of copyright Australian newspapers – an immense task. By November 2009, more than 6,000 volunteers had corrected 7 million lines in 318,000 articles, adding tags and comments along the way.

In January, the top six text correctors (pictured, from left: Maurie and Lyn Mulcahy, Ann Manley, Fay Walker, John Hall and Julie Hempenstall) were presented with special Australia Day awards. You can learn what interests them – “I’m into murders and executions, and family notices”; “war crimes and Japanese war trials, although at the moment she’s focusing on plane crashes”; “shipping” – in this Canberra Times profile (PDF).

Rose Holley was manager of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program. She now manages the new Trove discovery service from the NLA. She recently published Crowdsourcing: How and Why Should Libraries Do It?, a paper that analyses successful projects and issues a challenge to libraries: Do we have the courage, and dare we give users something greater than power — freedom?

Join Rose Holley at Mosman Library on Thursday 22 February at 6pm for what promises to be a fascinating talk – The Making of Our Digital Nation. RSVP on 9978 4090 or book your place online.

— Posted by Bernard D in  |  Permalink

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