Innovation That Matters

Finnish library uses games to crowdsource indexing

Publishing & Media

Most internet users have probably come across reCAPTCHA at some point or other in their online travels, notable because it not only helps distinguish human website visitors from computerized bots, but it also taps the human ones to help digitize books, newspapers and old radio shows. Operating on a similar principle, Finnish indexing effort Digitalkoot now offers a series of games by which players can help fix mistakes in the indexing of old Finnish newspapers. Digitalkoot is a joint project run by the National Library of Finland and distributed work platform Microtask that aims to index the library’s enormous archives so that they are searchable on the Internet. As in so many similar efforts, limitations on computers’ ability to recognize text causes numerous instances where human help is required. That’s where Digitalkoot’s games come in. In both Mole Hunt and Mole Bridge, human players offer solutions to problematic words, thereby helping the Digitalkoot effort make Finland’s archives more accurate and more accessible to all. So far, more than 20,000 people have visited the Digitalkoot site, and volunteer gamers have contributed more than 85,000 minutes of their time to helping its efforts. Later this year, Digitalkoot aims to give visitors a way to help structure the documents and tag images in its initiative as well. Like-minded efforts around the globe: let the games begin! (Related: Platform adds gaming elements to any website or applicationWeb service uses gaming to motivate salespeopleSite turns ride-sharing into a social gameiPhone app turns your to-do list into a game.) Spotted by: Hanne Mattinen



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