Gaming towards cultural enrichment
|September 27, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Gamification|
It’s not every day I think to myself, “Gee, I wish I spoke Finnish so I could help translate some 19th century Finnish newspapers.” Then again, it’s not every day that somebody makes a game out of doing so.
A joint project between the National Library of Finland and distributed work expert Microtask, Digitalkoot does just that. While automatic text recognition has done an initial scan on texts such as the current project, 19th century issues of the newspaper Aamulehti, the inaccuracies of scanning outdated typography are immediately clear. This is where Microtask comes in, a firm dedicated to “automatically [splitting] work assignments into tiny pieces and [distributing] them to our digital workers around the world.” And how do you get thousands of workers to contribute their time for free? You make it interesting, of course.
The games featured on the Digitalkoot site remind me of the days when I would spend hours on typing games such as Typer Shark, inadvertently working myself up to the geek-worthy speed of 103 words per minute in the process. The most successful iterations of the gamification trend have one thing in common – they tap into the points and rewards systems of standard games to put the fun at the forefront and the task in the background. Last week, one such game helped scientists quickly unlock the enzyme structure of an AIDS-like virus using Foldit, a puzzle game developed by the University of Washington. As the success cases keep rolling in, we’re sure to see more of the world’s seemingly tedious tasks become prize-filled time-killers.
If only all the dull things in life could so easily be made fun.
Screenshot credit: Digitalkoot