The National Library of Finland has launched Digitalkoot (digital volunteers), an online crowdsourcing project to digitize the nation’s historical records.
We have millions and millions of pages of historically and culturally valuable magazines, newspapers and journals online. The challenge is that the optical character recognition often contains errors and omissions, which hamper for example searches, said Kai Ekholm, director of the National Library of Finland. Manual correction is needed to weed out these mistakes so that the texts become machine readable, enabling scholars and archivists to search the material for the information they need.
The program currently consists of two online games developed by Microtask. In Mole Hunt (Myyräjahti), the player is shown two different words, and he must determine as quickly as possible if the words are the same. This uncovers erroneous words in archived material. In Mole Bridge (Myyräsilta), players have to correctly spell the words appearing on the screen. Correct answers help beavers build a bridge across a river.
The online gaming experience enables anyone to contribute to the conversion portions of Finnish cultural heritage into a lasting format. The aim is to crowdsource thousands of volunteers to participate online utilizing modern technology developed in Finland.
In the Digitalkoot program, participants can do as much, or as little, work they want, where they want and when they want.” says Harri Holopainen, Microtask managing director. “We help turn routine work into fun, almost a parlor game.