[LINK] Online Word Games Help Restore Finland’s Archive
brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed Feb 23 09:16:59 AEDT 2011
Online Word Games Help Restore Finland’s Archives
February 21st, 2011
Online gaming techniques are being used by a project in Finland to
collate and digitise huge volumes of historical documents from the
country’s national archives.
Launched by the National Library of Finland, the first phase of the
project, named ‘Digitalkoot’ – which means ‘digital volunteers’ –
involves getting members of the public to manually correct mistakes in
digital versions of old newspaper pages.
The errors stem from use of an optical character recognition system
which automates the digitising of printed text, but in doing so has made
an estimated 2% of errors within a four million page database. These
errors are more than just cosmetic, as they make catalogue searches more
The mistakes are corrected by people playing two online word-matching
games ( http://bit.ly/gaJOJF ) developed by the Finnish company
Microtask ( http://www.microtask.com ), a specialist in distributing
Kai Ekholm, Director of the National Library of Finland, told
E-Government Bulletin that Digitalkoot is loosely based a project by The
National Library of Australia, which is publishing historic newspaper
content online ( http://bit.ly/hbCZPs ) as part of a program to collect
and preserve all the country’s newspapers.
The project’s first stage will allow Finnish citizens of all ages to
help preserve culturally significant documents, said Ekholm. “In public
speech we talk so much of the age pyramid, and this is a nice example of
how to turn the discussion to a positive one. We now have one of the
healthiest and most educated senior sectors that want to help us, not
forgetting the [younger] gamers.”
The next stage of the project will use a more advanced, work-oriented
“pro-interface” method, said Ekholm, for an audience that is “willing to
skip the gaming and willing to work instead.” The model will also be
introduced to the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL),
giving other European libraries the chance to use the project software,
possibly released as an open source tool, he said.
NOTE: Article originally published in E-Government Bulletin issue 329.
email: brd at iimetro.com.au
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