The first reading, “The myth of Amateur Crowds: A critical discourse analysis of crowdsourcing coverage” is a study of the effectiveness of crowdsourcing and who participates in it. The author is arguing that people tend to be dismissive of crowdsourcing because they assume the participants are under-qualified. People tend to assume only amateurs contribute to crowdsourcing, which makes the information or contribution unreliable. However, the author of this article is challenging that notion and arguing crowdsourcing is an effective measure to create a community and it is often professionals who contribute. The research shows that people engage with crowdsourcing and those people are often well educated, professionals in their fields. In terms of digital history, this is an interesting thought for museums. How can museums crowdsource to create communities and have a shared authority? Can crowd sourcing be used within the digital history communities?
The second reading, “Building a Volunteer Community; Results and Findings from the Transcribe Bentham” is a case study on how the online transcription service used crowdsourcing to find participants and create a community. While most participants did not become permanent volunteers, it was still an important study to learn how to engage a community and evidence of how professionals participate. But it also pointed out something interesting in that the volunteers did not engage with each other. What does this mean for digital history? How can a more lasting community be established through crowdsourcing?
“Dark Matter” is an article about how technology and websites are the future of museums because it is a new form to engage with people and share information. It also points to how people contribute to the internet. How they utilize platforms to engage with each other. Because of this it is important to know how museums and histories contribute to this information sharing. In that same vein, how can people engage with museums and contribute their thoughts? Shared authority is important in digital history, so how can online formats crowdsource and interact with viewers?
Finally, “Why I wasn’t Consulted” demonstrates how people want a say in what they participate in. They want to be involved and their opinion to be recognized. It is essential for creating a shared authority within digital history because visitors want to share their knowledge to engage. How can you consult visitors in digital history? Digital history (and public history) is dependent on viewers, and therefore it is essential they are consulted. Can you think of a digital history that you as a viewer were consulted and how you connected to it?
The essential theme to these writings is how can we engage our viewers? How do we share authority and help viewers create meaning? Digital history can reach so many people and they need to feel participatory in the conversations. So, how do we do that?