Skip to main content

Press Media and Scholarly Inquiries: CONTACT

Research & Press

Research Papers

Flanagan, Mary & Carini, Peter (2012). “How games can help us access and understand cultural artifacts.” American Archivist 75(2), pp 514-537.

This paper reports on Tiltfactor lab’s pilot study of Metadata Games, a free and open-source software system that uses computer games to collect information about archival images in libraries and museums. By inviting mass participation, Metadata Games opens the door for archivists, researchers, and the public to unearth new knowledge that could radically enhance scholarship between and within many different disciplines. Authors Mary Flanagan and Peter Carini – the Director of Tiltfactor Lab, and the Dartmouth College Archivist, respectively – describe the qualitative and quantitative benefits of using crowdsourcing to generate knowledge.

Flanagan, M., Punjasthitkul, S., Seidman, M., Kaufman, G. and Carini, P.“Citizen Archivists at Play: Game Design for Gathering Metadata for Cultural Heritage Institutions.” Proceedings of DiGRA 2013, Atlanta, Georgia, August 2013.

This paper details the design process for the Metadata Games project, highlighting several of the challenges that the Metadata Games team encountered along the way. These include: how to attract a broad audience, how to ensure high replayability, how to foster a curiosity about the humanities, and how to verify the accuracy of publicly generated data. The authors ultimately present the “Outlier Design” model they used to identify and to address these challenges.

Manzo, C., Kaufman, G., Punjasthitkul, S., & Flanagan, M. ” ‘By the People, For the People’: Assessing the Value of Crowdsourced, User-Generated Metadata.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, 9(1), 2015.

This paper reports on study that builds on prior work investigating the value and accuracy of folksonomies by: (1) demonstrating the benefit of user-generated “tags” – or unregulated keywords typically meant for personal organizational purposes – for facilitating item retrieval and (2) assessing the accuracy of descriptive metadata generated via a game-based crowdsourcing application. The study’s findings illustrate the value of folksonomies for enhancing item “findability,” or the ease with which a patron can access materials, and the ability of librarians and general users alike to contribute valid, meaningful metadata. This could significantly impact the way libraries and other cultural heritage organizations conceptualize the tasks of searching and classification.


Press and Citations

Peaker, Alicia. “Wisdom of the Crowd | Digital Collections.” Library Journal, July 13, 2015.

Ennis, Matt. “Crowdsourcing and Community Engagement.” EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 50, no. 6, November/December, 2015.

Knowles, Claire. “‘Innovation’: the Emperor’s new clothes?” University of Edinburgh Library Labs Blog, May 20, 2015.

Dempsey, Anne. “ODH Project Director Q&A: Mary Flanagan.” Office of Digital Humanities, May 4, 2015.

Knowles, Claire. “Weekend with the Gallimaufry: Edinburgh University images added to Metadata Games.” University of Edinburgh, Library & University Collections Website, December 8, 2014.

Liu, Shu, and McKinley, Matthew. “AnteaterTag: Crowdsourcing Metadata in Games.” 2014 LITA Forum Poster Session.

Lee, Susanna. “Metadata Games.” Theory and Practice of Digital History. October 31, 2014.

Parasnis-Samar, Anjalis. “Crowdsourced Metadata Games: A Primer.” Information Space, Syracuse University School of Information Studies. October 10, 2014.

“Crowdsourcing with Metadata Games.” Art Libraries of North America – Mountain West Chapter Blog, September 18, 2014.

American Antiquarian Society. “Come Play with Us: AAS Collections Launch in Metadata Games.” Almanac, Issue 88. Page 3. September, 2014. 

Baker, Penny. “The Gamification of the Clark’s David A. Hanson Collection” Museum Archivist, Volume 24, Issue 2. Page 8. August 13th, 2014.

Flanagan, Mary. “Expanding our Wikiverse: How You Can SaveLibraries With Just a Few Clicks.”, May 27, 2014.

Gelli, Bianca. “Readers Save Legacy Library Content by Crowdsourcing Metadata Games” Gamification Corps, May 12th, 2014.

Dawson, Heather. “Social Science Sites of the Week from LSE Libray” London School of Economics and Political Science Library blog, May 9, 2014.

“Metadata Games Tag Event: May Day! May Day!” Press Release, April 25, 2014.

Hansen, Kathleen. “The Nancy Tovar Collection of East L.A. Murals and Metadata Games.” APPOET, April 22, 2014.

Hardy, Molly. “Digitizing the Visual Records: AAS Plays Metadatagames.” Past is Present: the American Antiquarian Society Blog, March 4, 2014.

Mauro, Sari. “Metadata games.” Congregational Library & Archives: History Matters, February 11, 2014.

Groves, Kaylyn. “Metadata Games Crowdsources Data Collection through Gaming.” Association of Research Libraries, January 24, 2014.

Zeamer, Vicky. “Using games to collect metadata: Introducing Metadata Games.” Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) blog, January 23, 2014.

“Game adds metadata to digital collections,” The Dartmouth, January 22, 2014.

“Tiltfactor presents Metadata Games: Mobile!” Press Release, January 22, 2014.

Owens, Trevor. “The Metadata Games Crowdsourcing Toolset for Libraries & Archives: An Interview with Mary Flanagan.” The Signal Digital Preservation blog, Library of Congress. April 3, 2013.

Marre, Vickie. “Playing Games with Metadata.” Weigle Information Commons blog, University of Pennsylvania. September 4, 2012.

Lifson, Amy. “Noteworthy: Save the Data!” Humanities 32 (4) August 2011, 52.

Hoffmann, Leah. “Games and Learning: Seven Questions for Mary Flanagan.” Communications of the ACM, July 5, 2011.

Doallas, Maureen. “Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours).” Writing Without Paper, June 18, 2011.

Natriello, Gary. “Gaming PK?” EdLab, May 25, 2011.

Richards, Barbara. “Digital game helps tag College photo archives.” The Dartmouth, May 25, 2011.

Mattera, Alexis. “Dartmouth’s New Metadata Game Makes Tagging Archives Fun.”, May 24, 2011.

“Dartmouth Creates Game to Tag Archival Gems.” History News Network, May 24, 2011.

Howard, Jennifer. “Gaming the Archives.” The Chronicle of Higher Education May 23, 2011.

Sullivan, Adam. “Can Videogames Help Kids?” WCAX News, September 29, 2009.

Beja, Marc. “Labeling Library Archives Is a Game at Dartmouth College.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 25, 2009.

National Endowment for the HumanitiesThe Neukom Institute
American Council of Learned Societies