Nov 08

Attribution and Collaboration

I am pretty sure there are no technological hurdles left to crowdsourcing everything.

As digital editions and big data projects begin to allow deeper access to their processes, citing the contributions made by those from whom you have lifted already assembled datasets or important cataloguing conventions becomes very difficult, but can be glossed over without consequence in most applications. When these important micro-contributions come from hundreds of people across several disciplines and a range of credentials, the task becomes near impossible and much more important.

Massive sites like Wikipedia have developed conventions (in addition to their official flags, stubs, and citation formats) that discern between contributors who share knowledge on a topic, those who flit about correcting spelling and grammar, and those who seek out citations to flesh out incomplete articles. Is this folksy approach the future? Can and should the value attached to someone who applies professional polish to a scholarly article be different from the workhorse who dropped a mangle of data and conclusions into a public area? Is the artist who created the visualization that makes it all accessible simply an illustrator?

Got me.

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