Crowdsourcing, or outsourcing to the crowd, serves to redistribute the cost of developing new products and services beyond the firm to a crowd who provides finances, information, labor, or ideas for a marginal cost. Digital networked technologies have increased the pool of providers and speed of provision with important economic implications. Adoption in the heritage field has not been widespread.
This chapter proposes a taxonomy of crowdsourcing projects and presents a selection of representative projects in the heritage sector focusing on advancing digital heritage activities. The analysis identifies four main benefits to involve the crowd:
(1) work can advance surpassing limitations of institutional budgets constraints;
(2) participation and further crowd engagement stimulate the notion of socially constructed commons;
(3) tapping into a global crowd enables the redistribution of costs and benefits beyond geo-political boundaries, strengthening notions of a common heritage resource; and
(4) by engaging in digital collaboration with the crowd, greater insight can be gained into the cultural consumption dynamics evolving on the Internet.
Challenges identified include the sustainability of the crowd’s work, involving the reuse of results beyond the crowdsourcing project, as well as incorporating the crowd’s contribution into the organizational production process, adopting it for instance as part of the collections’ information system.

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Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Navarrete, T. (2020). Crowdsourcing the digital transformation of heritage. In Digital Transformation in the Cultural and Creative Industries: Production, Consumption and Entrepreneurship in the Digital and Sharing Economy (pp. 99–116). Retrieved from