Ad or not? New crowdsourcing task
As posted to the Zooniverse Talk pages, we want to know what a ‘machine’ was in the 19th century as part of our linguistic and historical research. We have an incredible dataset to work with, thanks to previous crowdsourcing tasks, but our analysis has hit a snag: our dataset is full of advertisements.
Because ads were often repeated in successive issues of a paper, machines that were heavily advertised are over-represented in our data. The technology that aims to identify them does not work very well on nineteenth century newspapers, so we need your help to identify the ads.
This screenshot from preliminary analysis shows why newspaper researchers need to know ‘ad or not’!
‘Ad or not’ asks you to look at an image and decide if the highlighted ‘machine’ is in an ad. We define ads as any paid notice, including short classifieds, listings and ‘advertorials’ designed to look like articles. If you’re not sure – guess!
Have you tried the task? What questions do you have? Your feedback can be incredibly helpful, so we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
The results will immediately help our analysis of the results from our earlier crowdsourcing / digital volunteer project and we hope they’ll also work to train machine learning to identify adverts and eventually benefit all historical newspaper scholars.