Crowdsourcing Downunder


  • Rachel Hendery Western Sydney University
  • Jason Gibson Deakin University



Crowdsourcing, anthropology, history, digital humanities, Australia


In this paper we report on the experience of two research projects that intended to experiment with crowdsourcing models for opening up their scholarly materials to the wider public. Both the Howitt & Fison project, and Mapping Print; Charting Enlightenment were designed to take into consideration particularities of the Australian academic environment: in the former case, sensitivities around materials relating to First Peoples; in both cases, geographical distance from potentially interested communities, and the difficulties of formal recognition and categorisation of time spent on activities that lie at the intersection of research and outreach. They had similar challenges in terms of needing to process a large amount of data before analysis and progress towards the projects’ main research goals could begin. They also had similar goals in terms of eventual use of the project data, for example, making historical texts available online, and producing maps, networks, timelines and digital exhibitions of images and texts. In the end, one project has found crowdsourcing invaluable for building connections with interested publics the other discovered that crowdsourcing was not necessary to produce the results the project needed, and has moved away from this to focus its efforts instead on the linking of existing data and automation of structuring and categorisation. This paper discusses how the projects came to take these different directions, and how the above-mentioned Australian contexts contributed to their evolution.


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Author Biographies

Rachel Hendery, Western Sydney University

Rachel Hendery is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University. Her background is in linguistics and her research interests include historical linguistics, contact linguistics, typology, mapping, simulation, virtual reality, and data visualisation.

Jason Gibson, Deakin University

Jason Gibson is Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. He is an anthropologist and historian specialising in the interactions between Australian Indigenous peoples and ethnographers.


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How to Cite

Hendery, Rachel, and Jason Gibson. 2019. “Crowdsourcing Downunder”. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (1):22.