At the Ref Desk (1/2/18): 1st shift of the year! Waiting for the question: 'Do you have any research articles on 2018?' [more...]

Four Crowdsourcing Lessons from the Guardian’s (Spectacular) Expenses-Scandal Experiment

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 6/28/09 (1:34pm)
Pub Date: 
06/23/2009

Okay, question time: Imagine you’re a major national newspaper whose crosstown archrival has somehow obtained two million pages of explosive documents that outed your country’s biggest political scandal of the decade. They’ve had a team of professional journalists on the job for a month, slamming out a string of blockbuster stories as they find them in their huge stack of secrets.

How do you catch up?

If you’re the Guardian of London, you wait for the associated public-records dump, shovel it all on your Web site next to a simple feedback interface and enlist more than 20,000 volunteers to help you find the needles in the haystack.

Your cost for the operation? One full week from a software developer, a few days’ help from others in his department, and £50 to rent temporary servers.