CIRCA:Crowdsourcing Literature


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This bibliography is collected in the Zotero Group, "Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project".


"The Long Tail"

Anderson, Chris. “The Long Tail.” Wired October 2004. Issue 12.10. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

This article by Chris Anderson discusses the long tail effect in entertainment (including books, movies, music, and television). He asserts that companies such as and Netflix combine mass-market hits with obscure unknowns to create a “long tail.” A facilitator of this effect is Amazon’s customer recommendations, which applies “infinite shelf space with real time info about buying trends and public opinion.” Anderson then provides rules that these companies should follow:

  • 1. Make everything available. To break the tyranny of physical space.
  • 2. Cut the price in half. Now lower it. “Pull consumers down the tail with lover prices.”
  • 3. Help me find it. You need to have both the big hits and the unknown to influence users to go down the long tail.
  • ”By overcoming the limitations of geography and scale, just as Rhapsody and Amazon have, Google and eBay have discovered new markets and expanded existing ones. This is the power of the Long Tail.”
  • ”And the cultural benefit of all this is much more diversity, reversing the blanding effects of a century of distribution scarcity and ending the tyranny of the hit.”

"The Wealth of Networks"

Benkler, Yochai. "The Wealth of Networks:How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom." Yale University Press: New Haven. 2006.

  • Arranged into three parts to inform the reader on the shift of "social economic production (Benkler, 2006).
  • Companies and businesses (for the most part) have created rivalries in the production of goods, but this is not necessary. We can reach the goals of production for minimal cost by universalizing products and using the Internet to facilitate the process, that can result in a successful working relationship between businesses and the crowd.
  • Benkler also describes the components necessary to crowdsourcing projects - motivation, organization, cost, efficiency, etc.
  • This Author applied crowdsourcing and his own perception of future editing to his book. The Wealth of Networks is available online, free, to be edited and explored by anyone who can or is interested to do so. This unique approach shows the author standing behind and simultaneously researching his arguments about crowd sourcing.
  • ”It is not necessary to pin down precisely the correct or most complete theory of motivation, or the full extent and dimensions of crowding out nonmarket rewards by the introduction or use of market rewards. All that is required to outline the framework for analysis is recognition that there is some form of social and psychological motivation that is neither fungible with money nor simply cumulative with it. Transacting within the price system may either increase or decrease the social-psychological rewards (be they intrinsic or extrinsic, functional or symbolic).” Page 96

"Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads is Better than One"

Catone, Josh. “Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads is Better than One.” Read Write Web 22 March 2007. Web. 18 Feb. 2011.

This blog post by Josh Catone divides crowdsourcing into three categories.

  • 1. Creation, crowdsourcing projects that use the masses to create. Wikipedia is an example.
  • 2. Prediction, uses the crowd to guess events, this includes both stock markets and sporting events. Picks Pal is an example.
  • 3. Organization, the best example of this is Google, which uses “…crowds to determine which websites are the most relevant.”

Catone then refers to one of his past blog posts, a list of steps that crowdsourcing projects should follow to ensure success. The are “Crowds should operate within constraints,” “Not everything can be democratic,” “Crowds must retain their individuality,” and “Crowds are better at vetting content than creating it.”

  • ”Crowdsourcing can be looked at as an application of the wisdom of crowds concept, in which the knowledge and talents of a group of people is leveraged to create content and solve problems.”

“For Bentham and Others, Scholars Enlist Public to Transcribe Papers”

Cohen, Patricia. “For Bentham and Others, Scholars Enlist Public to Transcribe Papers.” The New York Times 27 Dec. 2010. Web. 18 Mar. 2011.

Scholars Recruit Public for Project” by Patricia Cohen is an article from the New York Times commenting on the successful integration of digital humanities, combining crowdsourcing with historical documents. The journalist compares Transcribe Bentham with current projects in the USA, like the transcription of Thomas Jefferson writings, and how such projects are far behind the original estimate of completion date.

  • ” Starting this fall, the editors [from Transcribe Bentham] have leveraged, if not the wisdom of the crowd, then at least its fingers, inviting anyone — yes, that means you — to help transcribe some of the 40,000 unpublished manuscripts from University College’s collection that have been scanned and put online.”

”Working for Free? Motivations for Participating in Open-Source Projects”

Hars, Alexander, and Shaosong Ou. “Working for Free? Motivations for Participating in Open-Source Projects.” International Journal of Electronic Commerce 6 (2002): 25–39. Print.

  • What motivates open source developers to provide the public with free or open source software, which is what this article sets about to explain.
  • There are two types:
    • What they receive internally from a selfless act.
    • What they gain externally from future project, press, etc.
  • How does this apply to the Ukrainian Folklore Audio Project?
    • Cultural and ethnic based motivations, along with a sense of pride and accomplishment of publishing work on the website.
  • List of motivations that need to be expanded: “Internal factors: Intrinsic motivations, altruism, Community identification; External Rewards: Future rewards, Personal needs.”
  • The article includes a questionnaire of how to discover what motivates volunteers.
    • Following along the lines of what he established as the main points of motivation above.
  • “Intrinsic motivation includes the desire of feeling competence and self-determination. External rewards include factors such as direct or indirect monetary compensation, and other’s recognition as well.”


Howe, Jeff. "Crowdsourcing: Why the power of the crowd is driving the future of business." Crown Business: New York. 2008.

  • Divided into three sections: the past ("How we got here"), the present ("Where we are"), and the future ("Where We're Going").
  • While a strong supporter of crowdsourcing, this book does not sugar coat the problems. Crowdsourcing needs to be organized and applied correctly to produce the best results. You cannot use just any crowd, if you need a logo designed go to people with artistic or creative talents; if you need 10000 emails sent you go to somewhere like Mechanical Turk where that can happen for one hundred dollars (not wasting you or the crowds time with ill suited tasks). And lets be realistic the crowd can (or is) stupid, the anonymity of the Internet brings out the worst in people, so "keep it simple" and understand that most of the work you will get it crap - the "90 - 10 rule."
  • Crowdsourcing projects mentioned: American Idol (love it!), Assignment Zero, InnoCentive, Google,, IdeaStorm, Cambrian House, etc.
  • Four things had to exist for crowdsourcing to grow:
    • "The rise of the amateur class was accompanied by the emergence of a mode of production - open source software - that provided inspiration and practical direction (Howe, 2008)."
    • The internet and availability of "cheap tools" gave users more power, that which businesses and companies once solely held (Howe, 2008).
    • "Online Communities" that organized people into convenient groups encouraging society to take advantage of crowdsourcing (Howe, 2008).
  • ”Crowdsourcing isn’t a single strategy. It’s an umbrella term for a highly varied group of approaches that share one obvious attribute in common: they all depend on some contribution from the crowd.” Page 280

"The Rise of Crowdsourcing"

Howe, Jeff. “The Rise of Crowdsourcing.” Wired June 2006. Issue 14.06. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

Jeff Howe’s article is an influential document on crowdsourcing. He divides the article into four parts.

  • 1. The Professional, Howe describes how professionals are taking advantage of the networked world. In addition, now “Technology advantages… are breaking down the cost barriers that once separated amateurs from professionals.”
  • 2. The Package, how crowdsourcing can be used to “package” and present other crowdsourcing media. The example Howe gave was Web Junk 2.0; a half an hour TV show that brings together the best (aka the funniest and weirdest) viral videos to the web.
  • 3. The Tinkerer, using crowdsourcing to match up companies with people who can solve the problems that their own research and developing employees cannot. InnoCentive is one of these crowdsourcing websites; it offers money to those who come up with solutions.
  • 4. The Masses, this is project like InnoCentive but for everyone, no one needs any specialty knowledge to do tasks. Mechanical Turk with pays participants pennies to do menial work, like emailing for large companies.
  • ”The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional employees. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing.”

"Tachypaedia Byzantian: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia"

Mahoney, Anne. “Tachypaedia Byzantian: The Suda On Line as Collaborative Encyclopedia.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly Winter 2009. Volume 3 Number 1. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.

This is an article about Suda On Line, a project that applies the crowd to translating the Byzantine Greek Suda. Throughout this article, there is no mention of term crowdsourcing, but there are reference to common issues found in similar projects. The article described experiencing “the long tail” and motivation issues. The main participants of this project are university students (both graduate and undergraduate). The idea came out of a listserv question about an English version of the Suda, and developed when interest from a computer science graduate student surfaced.

  • ”Editing and translating both take place in the same web system, very similar to a Wiki but less elaborate, and imposing somewhat more structure upon the translated entries.”
  • ”In less than ten years, then, with minimal funding and largely volunteer labor (the student programmers were paid), this project has gone from a query on an email list to a fairly widely-known resource for the study of the classical world.”

"Tapping the Wisdom of the Crowd"

Rich, Laura. “Tapping the Wisdom of the Crowd.” The New York Times 4 Aug. 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2011.

This article by Laura Rich begins by talking about examples of companies using crowdsourcing projects to solve problems they are having. For instance, Trek Light Gear presents itself as a large company, but it has a small backend. This company used Napkin Labs (a company that uses the crowd to evaluate other companies products and provides suggestions) to look at whether the company should expand and what products they should focus on developing. She then goes on to give some general pointers like “defining the job,” “Find a partner in the crowd,” “Hone your goal,” “Pay attention,” and “pay for what you get,”

  • “The process of crowdsourcing involves turning to resources outside your company. But instead of outsourcing a specific task or business function to single company, crowdsourcing – also known as expert-sourcing and open innovation – makes a public, or semipublic, invitation to a community at large to provide input or work.”

"Here Comes Everybody"

Shirky, Clay. "Here Comes Everybody." The Penguin Press: New York. 2008.

Here Comes Everbody by Clay Shirky describes the method of crowdsourcing through description of examples. A crowd can be our army Shirky stated.

  • “Every webpage is a latent community. Each page collects the attention of people interested in its contents, and those people might well be interested in conversing with one another, too. In almost all cases the community will remain latent, either because the potential ties are too weak (any two users of Google are not likely to have much else in common) or because the people looking at the page are separated by too wide a gulf of time, and so on.” Page 102

"The Meaning of Everything"

Winchester, Simon. "The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford Dictionary." Oxford University Press: New York. 2003.

  • The compilation of the Oxford Dictionary: "There were... no fewer than 1, 827, 306 illustrative quotations listed - selected from five million offered by thousands of volunteer readers and literary woolgatherers - that showed just how and when the uses and senses and meanings of all these words had begun and evolved... These were essential: the millions of words from these quotations offer up countless examples of exactly how the language worked...(Winchester, 2003)"
  • The process of compiling the Oxford Dictionary could be considered a historical example of crowdsourcing. The editors of the dictionary used the knowledge of millions of people to assemble words that they themselves are not experts in. Collection "quotations" of words from the crowd.

”Beware Social Media’s Dark Side, Scholars Warn Companies.” (NEW)

Young, Jeffrey R. “Beware Social Media’s Dark Side, Scholars Warn Companies.” The Chronicle Of Higher Education 20 Mar 2011. Web. 4 Apr 2011.

This article discusses the down side of crowdsourcing, referring it to as "slave labor." Jonathan Zittrain is behind this idea, at a session of South by Southwest Interactive he presented he argument, "Internet companies that focus on 'crowdsourcing,' getting the public to do odd jobs for small or no fees, are morally questionable." The article by Jeffrey Young goes on to describe other problems that are appearing in crowdsourcing projects including racism.

  • "The similarity of crowdsourcing to a man shoved inside a box [referring to the original Mechanical Turk] means the practice isn't exactly worker-friendly, the professor [Mr. Zittrain] argued. “ In fact, it's an actual digital sweatshop,' he said of the many sites that use the approach."
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