With a bit of free time my way, I’ll hopefully be able to catch up on a backlog of unfinished posts. To start, here’s an article by CBC News in Canada about Crowdsourcing (sorry, I’ve been sitting on that for a while). It’s quite a good, in-depth read, covering the usual Turk and Cambrian House, but also delving into the crowdsourced theory behind reCaptcha and (my academic hero) Luis von Ahn. Here’s how they define it:

It’s called crowdsourcing. The idea is to use the internet to get large numbers of people to help with a task.

They may do it for money — usually not much — or out of interest or simply because it’s fun.

Another mention of the term comes in a recent article titled “Facebook and Law“, looking at the effects that one Facebook group had in stalling the introduction new copyright laws in Canada.

Not only had tools like Facebook had an immediate effect on the government’s legislative agenda, but the community that developed around the group also led to a “crowdsourcing” of knowledge. Canadians from coast to coast shared information, posed questions, posted their letters to politicians, and started a national conversation on copyright law in Canada.

I like that the term ‘Crowdsourcing’ is becoming better understood not a a specific entity or fad, but rather as what it is: a word to describe something that couldn’t be adequately described in one word before.


As a follow-up to my short profile on the Mechanical Turk, Wired has published a story about Jim Gray, titled “Inside the High-Tech Hunt of a Missing Silicon Valley Legend“.

It’s an interesting story that I had regret writing so little about, so I recommend checking out the article for the full story — or as full as it can be.