Any researcher who has had to rely on microfilm to read old newspapers for research will welcome steps to digitise and make searchable the newspaper holdings of national libraries. In an initiative that takes advantage of widespread interest in history and genealogy, the National Library of Australia is using crowdsourcing in an interesting project to move forward with digitising the NLA’s newspaper collections.
What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is a process that engages large numbers of individuals in projects that have some public benefit. The National Library of Australia’s Trove project allows users of the the NLA’s newspaper archives to correct the text of digitised news. For example, if you are searching for your Australian ancestors and come across relevant news or announcements in any of the newspapers in the Trove archive, you have the ability to correct typos in the text and submit the corrections. It takes only a couple of minutes to correct a block of text but if enough people do it, it greatly speeds up the process for the project as a whole. The National Library of Australia is leading with a great example that demonstrates how crowdsourcing can be used by national libraries to improve access to collections and enhance their services for the benefit of all users.