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==Crowdsourcing Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project==
==Crowdsourcing Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project==

Current revision as of 10:11, 8 April 2011

Crowdsourcing Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project

Megan Sellmer, Geoffrey Rockwell, Natalie Kononenko, Maryna Chernyavska

Crowdsourcing is a popular method for getting a large project done by using a “crowd” of volunteer participants. Scholars are using crowdsourcing to complete large-scale projects, and involving the larger community of the humanities. Most humanities uses of crowdsourcing have been focused on textual materials like the Suda On Line project, which applies the power of the crowd to translating a Byzantine Encyclopedia. [1] The Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project with support from SSHRC is experimenting with crowdsourcing, or as we call it, groupsourcing, for the tagging, translating and transcribing of audio. In this paper we will do the following:

  • 1. Discuss the uses of crowdsourcing in the humanities.
  • 2. Demonstrate our audio folklore groupsourcing tool.
  • 3. Talk about the challenges we face involving a community of Ukrainian speakers in research.

1. Uses of crowdsourcing in humanities research Involving participants in research is not a 21st century invention. The Oxford English Dictionary could be considered an early example of crowdsourcing. The Internet, however, provides us with a communications channel that facilitates the distribution of small research tasks and automatic integration of volunteer contributions. There have therefore been a number of digital humanities projects that use crowdsourcing starting including The Dictionary of Words in the Wild <http://lexigraphi.ca>, Suda On Line < http://www.stoa.org/sol/>, and Transcribe Bentham <http://www.ucl.ac.uk/transcribe-bentham/>.

2. Demonstrate the Ukrainian Folklore Audio Site How can groupsourcing help folklore studies. Dr. Kononenko has gathered hundreds of hours of recordings of songs, narratives and beliefs in Ukraine community. These materials have been available online through a research site, but there is no transcript to search and only a topical index for navigation. [2] To enhance this site this project has developed a custom tool that can handle audio transcriptions so that volunteers in the community can sign out clips, tag them and then either transcribe or translate them. People who are interested in and understand Ukraine language and folklore will test the tool, geography does not play a role in selecting participants.

3. Design and Motivation Challenges An important issue for us is motivating and supporting community members. The design of the website was kept simple to meet the needs of the user. Participants may be elderly members of the Ukrainian community who have limited technology experience, so we designed the website to be accessible for everyone. In the presentation we will discuss the design decisions in terms of our engagement with a unique community. This project also explores the influence of ethnicity on a community and the emotions that surface when working with the audio clips that reflect a specific culture. We theorize that not only are these aspects unique and important to the project but that they are the behind participant motivation. We hope a group of community researchers will form around the project that can enhance this important folklore resource.


[1] Mahoney, Anne. “Tachypaedia Byzantina: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. 3.1 (2009).

[2] Ukrainian Folklore Sound Recordings. <http://projects.tapor.ualberta.ca/UkraineAudio/>.

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