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Crowdsourcing historical photographs: autonomy and control at the Copenhagen City Archives

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This study of crowdsourcing practices at at the Copenhagen City Archives provides a rich description of how motivation and work relations are situated in a wider infrastructure of different tools and social settings. Approximately, 94% of the work is here done by 7 of the 2,433 participants. The article contributes insights into how these super-taggers carry out their work, describing and placing images on a map, through an extensive discursive effort that takes place outside the institution’s more limited interface in private discussion forums with over 60 000 participants. The more exploratory qualitative work that is going on in different discussion groups does not fit within the archive’s technical framework. Instead, alternative archives are growing within privately owned networks, where participants’ own collections merge with images from public archives. Rather than focusing on the nature of participants’ motivation, the article suggests a relational perspective on participation that is useful for analyzing a systems’ support for participation. Pointing out how people’s motivation in citizen science correspond with relational and intra-relational aspects enables an approach to system design that potentially supports or counteracts these aspects.


Hansson, Karin; Dahlgren, Anna Näslund (2022): Crowdsourcing historical photographs: autonomy and control at the Copenhagen City Archives. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 31, No. 1. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-021-09418-z. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 1-32