Nichesourcing pluvial data digitization for the Sahel

Example pluvial records digitized through Binyam's nichesourcing effort (photo's W. Tuijp)
Example pluvial records digitized through Binyam’s nichesourcing effort (photo’s W. Tuijp)

At EKAW 2012 I presented a position paper co-authored with a number of VU-colleagues on nichesourcing as a next phase in crowdsourcing practice. In Nichesourching, tasks are not distributed to the faceless crowd but rather to small groups of amateur experts that share a set of characteristics. These characteristics ensure that they can perform tasks that require specific knowledge with higher quality and furthermore they are more motivated through their connection with the context. The presentation slides are archived on Slideshare, the paper itself can be found here.

The paper and presentation features two use cases. One use case concerns the Master’s project by Binyam Tesfa, supervised by me and Pieter De Leenheer. Binyam investigated a Nichesourcing approach for digitizing pluvial data from the Sahel region in Africa. He developed and published a nichesourcing application on the web targetin the African diaspora (African expats currently living in the North). Binyam evaluated its success in terms of attracting dedicated participants and digitizing considerable amount of digital data. With one week release of our Nichesourcing application, the participants produced more than 5000 cells of structured digitized pluvial data. We also found that the anticipated niche (people with African affiliation) dedicatedly participated in the digitization. Binyam’s thesis can be found here: Nichesourcing: a case study for pluvial data digitization for the Sahel by B. Tesfa [PDF]

The other use case presented is the Rijksmuseum print annotation use case where 700.000 prints are to be annotated by amateur experts. Prints depicting flowers are distributed to flower-enthousiasts, prints of castles to castle-geeks etc. For this use case, the people in the COMMIT/ SEALINCMedia project are currently developing a nichesourcing methodology and application.

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