In line with The Digital Manifest, I would like to introduce an outstanding online project that is open for participation by everyone (878,819 as of today’s count) and helps to contribute not just to the achievements of the scientific community but also to the collection and use of human knowledge world-wide: Zooniverse.
Established by the Citizen Science Alliance, an alliance by English and American universities, laboratories and organizations including National Maritime Museum, The University of Nottingham and The University of Minnesota, Zooniverse features collaborative projects with scientific organizations world-wide, such as NASA, Stanford and Yale.
As such there are projects on to
- Help identify solar storms
- Help transcribe plant identification labels from the 1950s
- Identify craters on the Moon
- Identify star clusters and faint galaxies in Andromeda
What makes the above interesting is not just the merely ability of everyone to participate, but also the ease of the same. Each project has a tremendous amount of unprocessed data that it needs to be structured, analyzed and identified. However instead of putting a pile of excel files / raw graphic files / etc. in front of the volunteer, each project has created a graphical interface to create a game-like environment to persuade the user to interact a longer time with the dataset. This involves also a high score system, a ranking system and in the case of the NEEMO project a public recognition of the best contributors.
A job well done!