Clio Wired

An Introduction to History & New Media

Week 9

Crowdsourced History


  1. Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” The Journal of American History 93, 1 (June, 2006): 117-46
  2. Leslie Madsen-Brooks, “Engendering Online History: Wikipedia vs,” The Blue Review (2013)


  1. Trevor Owens: “The Crowd and the Library”; “The Key Questions of Cultural Heritage Crowdsourcing Projects” (2012)
  2. Tim Causer, Justin Tonra and Valerie Wallace, “Transcription Maximized; expense minimized? Crowdsourcing and editing The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham,”Literary and Linguistic Computing 27, 2 (2012): 119-137


  1. Daniel Cohen & Roy Rosenzweig, “Chapter 6: Collecting History Online,” Digital History (2006)
  2. Sheila A. Brennan and T. Mills Kelly, “Why Collecting History Online is Web 1.5,” Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (2009)

Social media

  1. Rebecca Onion, “Snapshots of History,” Slate (Feb 5 2014)
Discussion Leaders: Ron Martin & Alyssa Fahringer


  • Wikipedia
  • Edit a Wikipedia entry related to digital history

1 comment for “Week 9

  1. Alyssa Fahringer
    October 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    1. What is crowdsourcing, and how do you, as a historian, feel about crowd-sourced history?
    2. In Leslie Madsen-Brooks’ blog, she talks about Consensus vs. Expertise in Wikipedia creating a “collision of cultures.” What does she mean? Do you think Wikipedia’s editorial policies are too democratic? Why, in the author’s view, are professional historians sometimes reluctant to contribute? What happened to Timothy Messer-Kruse and the Haymarket Trial?
    3. Do you agree with Dan Cohen’s quote in the Rosenzweig article in which he states: “[sites like Wikipedia] that are free to use in any way, even if they are imperfect, are more valuable than those that are gated or use-restricted, even if those resources are qualitatively better”? What does this mean for the future of serious history on the web?
    4. How does audience play into the creation, collection of materials, editing process and overall usage of sites like Wikipedia,, the 911 Digital Archive, and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank?
    5. What are the negative implications of crowdsourced history? What are some ways that the process of crowdsourcing can be improved?
    6. Are there certain times or projects when crowdsourcing is appropriate or inappropriate? Why?

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