27 June 2011

Retroactive crowdsourcing

Saturday's Ottawa Citizen had an article under the headline "Historians use modern tools to see into the past".

The Carleton University History Department HeritageCrowd project, funded through a Faculty of Arts junior research fellowship, aims to create a local history database, focusing on the Ottawa Valley's Pontiac and Renfrew Counties, by collecting contributions from the community (crowdsourcing).

As Sir Humphrey said "I can foresee all kinds of unforeseen problems".

Nevertheless, I like it. There's a chance something will be discovered, say about the technique rather than the history of the area, that will be significant. Or perhaps it will stimulate some other initiative for the Pontiac.

A post on the project Journal mentions retroactive crowdsourcing, gathering up all the web material from Flickr pictures to websites drawn up by amateur historians and genealogists. I guess if you've ever gone to Rootsweb and checked their archive for names and places in your family history you're been doing retroactive crowdsourcing - and if you haven't don't miss the resource.

This is just the type of project a university should be doing, and worth contributing information to if you have knowledge of the local history and heritage of the Pontiac and Renfrew County.

Thanks to Glenn Wright for pointing out the Citizen article.

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