Metadata Games

I did my crowdsourcing on Metadata Games, a National Standard open source game platform which relies on crowd participation involving a cache of media items including digitized images, audio, and video from over 45 collections from 11 institutions.  Through collaborations with the British Library, the Boston Public Library, The Open Parks Network, Digital Public Library of America, and the American Antiquarian Society, the goal of this project is to produce a series of searchable tags which highlight various characteristics of the media items provided by Metadata Games.  These media tags are created by the crowdsource participants who view the media items in question through one of nine interactive games that have been created by Metadata Games through the assistance of their collaborators.

Out of the nine games, each involves a specific set of media items, such as Ships Tag, a game involving maritime images from the British Library in which the gamer must create as many tags as possible relating to the image, and the more tags you can create the higher your score will be.  However, I found out of all theses tag creation games the Ships Tag and Zen Tag which involve the creation of tags for digitized historical images proved to be the most difficult task to complete out of all of the games.  While there are certain limits to the tags you can create rely on a single digitized image, and it can be nearly impossible to even venture a guess as to the historic context of the image, many of the images were often not presented properly, many of the images were instead presented sideways, and upside-down and were often presented on a scale that made it impossible to read any of the image’s text.  The inability to make additional tags for the Ships Tag game proved to be difficult as many of the images were of ships and the texts would have provided additional helpful information, such as the name of the ship, its country of origins and even relevant dates, all of which were obscured by the small scale of the image.

However, the most worthwhile and I feel productive game Metadata has created is Nextag, which involves producing tags for video clips of historical footage.  Out of all of the games I found that I spent most of my time participating in this crowdsource project as it involved footage relating to Boston’s history, particularly media footage relating to the Boston Busing Crisis, JFK’s presidential campaign, and other clips in which I had a better grasp of the historical context of the video, and hence I was able to produce more tags for the video media items.


Lorenzo is a second year Public history student, following his completion of BA in History from Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida his areas of historic interest include 19th and 20th century American Anarchist history, as well as museum education focusing on the use of living history and interactive/hands on museum exhibits and programs.

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