The Guardian, faced with a huge mountain of data has turned to crowdsourcing in order to aid it’s research. 24,000 emails have been declassified by the US state of Alaska and enthusiastic users can clycle through them randomly and rate them as to how interesting they are.
It’s a useful way of engaging readership and a energising them as your research workforce…the sheer volume of the messages would surely make any revalations old news by the time the entire batch were read and evaluated. This way you give out the and democratise the information whilst moving the project along at the fastest possible pace.
The Guardian say “How do you get through 24,000 documents? Well, you enlist an army of readers to help us assess the document dump of the year.
They’ve been released as printed pages – yes, printouts of emails – in six boxes for each news organisation that requested them. We think it’s important to get the documents out into the world as soon as possible and see what you think about them – just like we did with MPs’ expenses.”
and whilst they have received complaints that some of the emails reveal personal details they re-iterate that it is the Alaskan State government who have released documents rather than a wikileak style leak.
Whatever the reaction and whatever is found in the emails it represents an impressive undertaking by both the newspaper and it’s readership