Dartmouth College’s Tiltfactor Announces Collaboration with the British Library on Metadata Games


Play, Tag, Connect!

June 18, 2014

Dartmouth College’s Tiltfactor, an interdisciplinary innovation studio dedicated to designing and studying games for social impact, has announced a new collaboration with the British Library on three new games: Ships Tag, Book Tag, and Portrait Tag. Each game provides the public with an opportunity to not only explore but also add to what we know about images from the British Library’s collection.

The new tagging games are part of Tiltfactor’s Metadata Games, a free and open source gaming platform through which the public can help label collections by providing descriptions or keywords for an image through “tagging.” The tags serve as important metadata, or data embedded with or alongside collections, making the content searchable later, which is something that many recent digitized collections lack.

“The collaboration with the British Library is an incredible opportunity to make a million new images more findable and usable through these games,” said Mary Flanagan, founding director of Tiltfactor and Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth. “This extraordinary international effort will allow us to conduct new research into crowdsourcing as well and discover how the images might be used by the public,” added Flanagan.

The collaboration between Tiltfactor and the British Library presents an interesting way for the public to engage with the Library’s collection of over a million public domain images from within their digitized collection of over 65,000 books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including intricate maps, geological diagrams, charts, illustrations, landscapes, and more, which were posted onto Flickr Commons in December 2013. In Ships Tag— players tag naval images, in Book Tag—players tag book covers and title pages, and in Portrait Tag— players tag portraits from books, which helps build the British Library’s metadata while also expanding the collection’s accessibility for public research, reuse, and repurposing.

British Library Digital Curator Nora McGregor and British Library Labs Project Manager Mahendra Mahey stated that, “As an institution committed to sparking creativity, the British Library is always looking for ways in which to support the innovative use of our digital collections, particularly through initiatives like the Flickr Commons upload and other associated projects run by the British Library Labs team. This project with Metadata Games offers a unique opportunity to both enable better discovery of these wonderful images, while also helping to inform our own processes for enhancing metadata through crowdsourcing in the future.”

“Through our Metadata Games with the British Library, we look forward to furthering research in player motivation and in the novel uses of the library’s incredible collections,” said Sukie Punjasthitkul, Tiltfactor’s project manager.

To play Ships Tag, Book Tag, and Portrait Tag, the Metadata Games created in collaboration with the British Library, please visit: http://www.metadatagames.org/british-library/.