Today, we launch AnnoTate, an art history and transcription project made in partnership with Tate museums and archives. AnnoTate was built with the average time-pressed user in mind, by which I mean the person who does not necessarily have five or ten minutes to spare, but maybe thirty or sixty seconds.
AnnoTate takes a novel approach to crowdsourced text transcription. The task you are invited to do is not a page, not sentences, but individual lines. If the kettle boils, the dog starts yowling or the children are screaming, you can contribute your one line and then go attend to life.
The new transcription system is powered by an algorithm that will show when lines are complete, so that people don’t replicate effort unnecessarily. As in other Zooniverse projects, each task (in this case, a line) is done by several people, so you’re not solely responsible for a line, and it’s ok if your lines aren’t perfect.
Of course, if you want trace the progression of an artist’s life and work through their letters, sketchbooks, journals, diaries and other personal papers, you can transcribe whole pages and documents in sequence. Biographies of the artists are also available, and there will be experts on Talk to answer questions.
Every transcription gets us closer to the goal of making these precious documents word searchable for scholars and art enthusiasts around the world. Help us understand the making of twentieth-century British art!
Get involved now at anno.tate.org.uk
I’m delighted to announce that after a very successful beta test period, our first non-astrophysical project, Solar Stormwatch has gone live. Our science team, led by Chris Davis, is standing by ready to receive the results of your hard work. As he explains on his post over at the SSW blog, the results are already intriguing and we’re hoping for much, much more.
Welcome to the Zooniverse.
I’m very proud to launch the Zooniverse today; if you haven’t found the main site yet, then click here to explore. Zooniverse will provide a home not just for Galaxy Zoo (and its friends like the Mergers and Supernova Hunting), but for our ever-growing suite of projects.
These will include new astronomy projects – one of which will have its beta version launched very soon – but also from the rest of science and beyond. There’s one common thread; each project needs your help to increase our understanding of the Universe, and will produce results that could not happen without you. We hope you’ll explore, and soon be able find a project for every occasion.
For those who are happy in Galaxy Zoo, and who don’t want to be distracted by whatever’s coming next, you should notice very little difference. The Galaxy Zoo blog has found a new home, but that’s about it. For everyone else, the enormous amount of work that’s gone into the machinery that powers the Zooniverse should make it easy to move from project to project as the mood takes you.
We’ve been hurtling unknowingly toward the Zooniverse since the day Galaxy Zoo launched, way back in July 2007. As servers melted and emails piled up in our inbox, it was obvious that we’d underestimated the number of people who wanted to spend time helping us out. Zoo 2 confirmed that that appetite was still there, and projects like Mergers show that you’re more than capable of taking more complicated tasks off our hands.
Alongside the Zooniverse itself, a web home for the organisation we’ve put together to run our projects – the Citizen Science Alliance – has also been launched. Each of the organisations that make up the Alliance, and our other partners too, believes that making use of your skills, talents and energy is not only helpful in dealing with the flood of data confronting us, but it is necessary.
As we work hard to make that possible, we hope the Zooniverse will become a home for you all. To remind us who we’re working for, profiles of Zooites will always feature on the Zooniverse home page. Between us, we can make more of the vast reservoirs of images, videos and data modern science creates – it should be an exciting ride.