In the spotlight for crowdsourcing

Anyone surfing the net is able to collect images, advertisements and articles from the DIGI Newspapers Library – the most popular digital service of the National Library of Finland (NLF) digital services. As a user, you can clip items of interest and share them on social media. By providing comments, you are also able to add to the available information about these digital collections.

Manifold collections need different approaches to digitization procedures. The digital newspaper and periodical material covers a wide range of topics during the period 1771-1910. Almost half of the material is in Swedish; the rest is in Finnish, and you can use Finnish, Swedish or English for text search on the website.

NLF offers users both a better service experience and interesting new tools for the crowdsourcing of clippings. Our digital collections can be used by multiple user groups working together for the common good.

NLF launched a text correction game in 2011-2012 in conjunction with the firm Microtask. Our further intention has been to explore whether there were additional needs for crowdsourcing of clippings, articles, images and advertisements from newspapers, periodicals and ephemera.

In-house digitization 

We applied for and received funding in 2011 for a two-to-three-year project, Kuvatalkoot, from the European Social Fund. The first version of the service was launched in June, 2013. The second version will be in place by the conclusion of the project in April, 2014.

Unlike many other libraries, NLF has an extensive in-house solution for digitization at the Centre for Preservation and Digitization in Mikkeli. The DIGI web service for the digital collections offers the following:

  • The Historical Newspaper Library – all newspapers 1771-1910 (until 2010, two titles are available in the Deposit Libraries in Finland)
  • The Historical Periodicals Library – 80% of all general periodicals 1810-1910 (-1944 within copyright available in the Deposit Libraries in Finland)
  • Industrial Ephemera 1810-1944

Fifty per cent of the 8 million digitized pages are in the public domain. We had over 10 million page views of these collections in 2013. As the digital information is stored in the METS format, it is possible  to process each word or each clip individually and to add to the existing information.

How can we generate interests? How could you benefit from participating in the crowdsourcing of articles, announcements and images? As a reward for your participation, you are offered a platform that enhances your user experience. As a user, you will be able to easily gather clippings from the digital collections for your personal page.

You have the option of commenting on the clippings. Everyone can search for clippings via the public clipping page. The clippings can be publicly commented on and shared with special interest groups on social media. The service is intended for people already using the digital collections, but the idea is to attract new users as the service reaches schools, researchers and other special interest groups.

Welcome to Kuvatalkoot

When you enter the DIGI Newspaper and Periodicals Library, you can do free-text searches and find information about Stockholm as a tourism destination and learn about its many telephone devices in the Kotka newspaper on 15th October 1896, for example, or read about the summer city of Copenhagen in the newspaper Wasa Nyheter on 13th September 1896.

In Kristiania (Oslo), the artist H. Hansen was setting off on a skiing expedition to America on 24th January 1896. He discovered that the Finnish skis of the Haapavesi brand were the best he had ever had. His travel plans had already changed before the Kotka newspaper was printed on 23rd April 1896, because Hansen had received funding to seek out Nansen on the New Siberian Islands.

Social media address as login

When you find an interesting article, you can sign in to Kuvatalkoot. You can mark clippings from the content, e.g. about the Gold Rush, whether in Ivalo, Finland or Melbourne, Australia, or read an announcement about a Russian-Finnish consul who left money behind in Paris. Collect clippings and articles about your family, home town or interests.

You can use a computer or a tablet. Your social media address will serve as your login and as your address for our web service. Enjoy!

Highlight the article. The only mandatory fields you have to fill in with metadata are the name and genre of the article/clipping.

If you wish, you may fill in search terms from the Finnish General Upper Ontology in Finnish, Swedish or English, or provide your own search terms. You can also add private or public comments to the clipping.

The title, date and page of the newspaper are filled in automatically. The clipping is automatically added to the public search pages where all the metadata serve as search elements.

If you have any comments or additional search terms to add to an article, you may do so. Do you know anything about the consul who left money behind in Paris, or do you have any information about where Hansen went? If so, you can submit a comment. You can also pick clippings for your personal page from the public pages.

Kuvatalkoot project becomes Digitalkoot

The NLF Centre for Preservation and Digitization planned the concept for the KUVATALKOOT and outsourced the agile technical implementation. In January 2013, a contract was signed with the firms Gofore and Evident. Through intensive collaboration, we have built a simple and interesting platform for crowdsourcing that is fully integrated with the interface and its underlying functions.

A new version will complete the project at the end of April 2014. With this in mind, the web service for the digital collections and KUVATALKOOT – renamed DIGITALKOOT for clippings – has a new image. Going forward, NLF will continue to develop search options whenever possible. We hope this innovation will meet your expectations.

Director Centre for Preservation and Digitisation National Library of Finland
  • With crowdsourcing, the general public can be invited to participate in the development of new technology, to produce a design or to help to look after, systematize or analyze large quantities of data, for example. This can mean that a job that would normally be undertaken by one supplier is outsourced to an undefined, usually large group of people by means of an open announcement.