Libraries Become Centres for Sharing

Great article on the future of libraries with one section very relevant to the work the Ulwazi Programme is doing:

“Utilising people’s willingness to contribute to the information commons, libraries are also enlisting patrons’ help in digitally archiving special collections that have not previously been available electronically. The NYPL has 40,000 restaurant menus spanning from historic to the present day that need to be transcribed from images into data so people can search them by dish, restaurant, date etc. Patrons can access images of the menus online and enter the information found on them into a database. The project has been met with great enthusiasm and participation. In the first four months, patrons have transcribed half a million dishes. By the end of next year, they’ll have an account management system in place so contributors can see what they’ve done and what others have done. And there’s a lot more where that came from.

“We found over 870 examples of collections that need this kind of work,” says May. “There are literally millions of tasks that librarians will never have the time to get to, and there’s a great appetite by the public to contribute to something meaningful.”

”People collaboratively create knowledge,” he says. “I hope that 20 years from now,” he says, “collaboration and cooperation with users is the norm, not the exception; that users interact with everything.”

Read the full article …

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