The University of Alabama
Crowdsourcing at University Libraries
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What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing means outsourcing a task to a group of people, allowing difficult and time-consuming projects to be tackled a bit at a time, and by a large group of individuals, working asynchronously and at their own pace.

Crowdsourcing in the digital library context allows users from the comfort of their own computer or mobile device to apply descriptive tags to photographs and other materials or transcribe handwritten text from letters, diairies, and more. This provides new ways to access materials, and a great sense of accomplishment for users. 

The University Libraries digital repository, Acumen, now has integrated crowdsourcing functionality to allow users to "tag" or "transcribe" materials from our collections. To add tags or a transcription to an item, click on the tag or document icon at the top right of the image to open the pane. 

Do you have questions, comments, or ideas about crowdsourcing in Acumen?  Please contact us!


Why Tag and Transcribe?


We have thousands of digitized images in our collections! Many of these photos lack complete descriptions of the people, places, or objects displayed. By applying your own "tags" (key words, descriptions) to our photographs (or other documents!), you can help us fill in the blanks and provide more thorough and accurate information for students and researchers using our collections.The tags you provide will be added to Acumen, so researchers can find material by using your search terms. The more you tag, the richer the experience for all! 



Handwritten documents offer a unique challenge for users and reserachers.  Handwriting, especially the handwriting from the 19th century or earlier, can be very difficult to decipher.  Transcribing documents adds scholarly value and information to the items and, just as importantly, provides text that make the items keyword searchable. Transcription is like a puzzle, a great way to spend a few hours or a few minutes. It also allows you to share your work with others.


Featured Collections

Were you here in 1981 when the state turned 150 years old? Then you might know some of the folks that appear in photos of the Sesquicentennial Ball

Interested in events that happened in Mobile, Alabama, during the Civil War? Dip into the diary of George Smith:

Description from the finding aid: The thirty-five page diary covers the period October 1863 to November 1865. It contains entries describing battles in Louisiana and Alabama. Smith was involved in attacks on Ft. Blakely and Spanish Fort, Alabama. In addition, his entries chronicle the surrender of Mobile and a magazine explosion in that city on 25 May 1865, which caused significant loss of life and damage to buildings and ships docked in Mobile Bay.