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Digitising Finnish history using crowdsourced volunteers


The National Library of Finland is responsible for the collection, preservation and accessibility of Finland’s printed national heritage and the unique collections under its care. By digitizing this material and making it freely available and searchable online, the National Library aims to enhance the visibility, accessibility and usability of its unique collections. Once it is online it also means that the precious hard copies of the documents do not have to be used by people, which can damage them.

At the moment the National Library has around 4 million digitized pages in its newspaper archive. This material was digitized using optical recognition software (OCR). The problem is that because much of the material is old and in hard to read type fonts, the OCR software has made lots of errors. Because only humans can correct these mistakes, this would usually be a hugely time consuming and expensive process.

The aim of Digitalkoot, this joint project between the National Library and Microtask, is to correct errors in its digital archives of old newspapers quickly and cheaply by using online volunteers to complete the tasks.

The National Library also had the objective of encouraging Finnish people to get involved in the preservation of their culture.

About this case study
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Ville Miettinen

Founder & CEO, Microtask



Ville Miettinen wrote this case study for Governance International on 1 September 2012.

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