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Games Create Steps Toward a Larger Goal

Games Create Steps Toward a Larger Goal


The MetaData Games Project, the National open source crowdsourcing game platform, is a website where you play fun, interactive games in order to create tags for images, or video that are at risk for being lost otherwise. You create these tags by coming up with descriptive words for the image, audio, or video. The words that you send into the game will help catagorize the piece of media. This site is interesting in that you are able to make a contribution without being an expert of the material. The MetaData Games Project is used with 45 collections and is represented at 11 institutions. The site includes tens of thousands of images, audio and video that have generated over 315,000 tags. Along with helping to tag these images, you can explore tags that people have already created.


I was able to be a crowdsourcing participant through this project which I found to be neat experience. On the site I explored a couple of the games that they had to offer. Most of the games involved coming up with a description for the displayed images. The first game that I played was called Zen Tag. In this game I had to describe the image that I saw using short words or phrases in a text box below the image. The four images that I described were various pictures of ancient buildings. You are given a score when you are done describing the images. It was hard to describe the images without background knowledge of the image, however, I think that this was one of the points of the project. The game makers want you to describe the image just on what you saw and not on what you may already know about the image. In another game, I had to describe an image using certain word lengths. I had two minutes to come up with words ranging from four to 10 letters that described the image that I was given. It was difficult to come up with short words to describe the image, especially since I did not always know what I was looking at.


I am glad that I was able to particpate in this project, even by doing such a small task, like playing a game. It did not feel like I was doing a great act of activism because the part that I played in describing those images was so small. However, if many people play those games and create tags for those images, it does make a difference. The collective efforts of many will accomplish a larger goal. When lots of people play these games it prevents images from becoming lost in a sea of data and keeps their alive history.



1 comment

I agree that the MetaData Games project is a good example of crowdsourcing. The platform invites the public to contribute to a larger cause, in this case saving libraries' and museums' digital collections from being lost to time by attributing meta data tags to them. That the games do not feel like activism speaks to the wide appeal and accessibility of the initiative.

I have two questions about your experience. First, how do libraries and museums verify that players are contributing accurate information? Second, does MetaData Games verify users to ensure that they do not sabotage the results?