Who’s doing all the transcriptions?

We reported last week that we were making great(er) progress with nearly three quarters of a million fields transcribed after 16 months. Another thing that’s interesting is to look at who is doing the work?

An important thing to know is that if you’re not logged in we just record you as an anonymous user. Just over 100,000 of our transcriptions were like that. We suspect there are some repeat visitors in there, and we hope you’ll register!

Like a lot of citizen science projects a lot of the work is being done by a small number of people. We had 6,670 registered users on the site, and just 80 people did more than half the work; starting with the top transcriber with 60,000 fields transcribed. In case this sounds unreasonable it’s the equivalent of someone who joined us when we launched and has transcribed one soldier a day … It’s great but might be only taking them 15-30 minutes a day. We need dozens more like them!

On the other end of the scale there are more than 1000 registered users who did just one transcription. Most likely—since they’re registered—they’ve come over from other Zooniverse projects, and didn’t stick around.

You can visualize this in a couple of ways. Because the numbers are so skewed we take logarithms (remember your high school or college mathematics!) to make the graphs more legible.

This is not at all unusual to Measuring the ANZACs. Citizen science participation follows a “power law”  and our project is different from galaxies and penguins just in its content.



Evan Roberts (eroberts [at] umn dot edu)



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