Cultural Heritage

National Library of Wales

Crowdsourcing Platform
Building blocks:Ca

The National Library of Wales has for many years run many different crowdsourcing projects to capture data about its collections from volunteers. The Library is also an early adopter of IIIF and leader in that community, and much-digitised material is provided by the Library in IIIF form.

This now makes it possible to build a generic crowdsourcing platform, for use by the Library and others, in which both the inputs and outputs conform to open standards. Digitised material that forms the subject matter of a crowdsourcing project - archives, manuscripts, periodicals, printed books, photography and artwork collections - is published as IIIF by the Library. The data and content generated by users of the platform from that material are saved in the form of W3C Web Annotations.

The Kyffin Diaries in the crowdsourcing platform

The platform is optimised for basic tasks but has the potential to capture complex data, using a concept called the capture model - a description of the information the volunteers are to provide, and the user interface the platform should generate to capture it.

A crowdsourcing project focuses on a single set of IIIF resources, e.g., a particular collection of photographs, or a chosen set of archive material. Each project has its own web identity (a site with a distinct theme or branding), capture models, and editorial content. Administrators of a project define the capture models that project should use to collect contributions from users.

Volunteers see a visual overview of the project material through thumbnails and hierarchical navigation. The structure of the source IIIF collections and manifests is reflected in the navigation of the project site. Every source image has a web page, and as they browse, volunteers can see the contributions and comments that others have already made on each image. They can log in and start to make annotation contributions of their own, and view how their actions change the progress totals for the whole project.

The platform consists of Omeka S, new bespoke modules for Omeka S, and the DLCS’s open source W3C Web Annotation Data Model compliant annotation server, Elucidate.

Main image: © Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / National Library of Wales