crowdsourcing [English]

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ A strategy to perform small tasks that are part of a larger project through contributions from an informal, online group.

General Notes

"The coinage is generally attributed to Jeff Howe in Wired (2006) . . . " (Oxford English Dictionary, 2018). Many crowdsourced tasks may be done explicitly and consciously by participants, such as transcribing manuscripts or oral histories, supplying metadata, or validating data recognition. However, some tasks have been incorporated into an automated process; for example, asking an individual to transcribe the image of a hand-written word as part of a log-in procedure.

Other Definitions

  • Gartner IT Glossary (†298 s.v. "crowd sourcing"): The processes for sourcing a task or challenge to a broad, distributed set of contributors using the Web and social collaboration techniques. Crowdsourcing applications typically include mechanisms to attract the desired participants, stimulate relevant contributions and select winning ideas or solutions.


  • CIBER 2013 (†257 ): Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer of the United States from March 2009 to August 2011 under President Obama, described citizen sourcing as a way of driving “innovation by tapping into the ingenuity of the American people to solve those problems that are too big for government to solve on its own.” Citizen sourcing is derived from the term crowdsourcing and emphasizes the type of civic engagement typically enabled through Web 2.0 participatory technologies, over a more impersonal crowd-based distributed problem-solving and production model. (†219)
  • Kurian 2013 (†576 s.v. crowdsourcing): Delegation of a task, such as research or a problem solution, to the general public through the internet. (†1096)