Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Examining citizen scientist engagement and transcription rates through site content and social media activity on the Notes from Nature platform
Michael W. Denslow, Julie Allen, Rob P Guralnick

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-09 02:30 PM – 02:35 PM
Last modified: 2016-10-16

Abstract


Notes from Nature (http://www.notesfromnature.org/; NFN) is a citizen science tool focused on public engagement and label transcription of natural history specimens. The project was developed collaboratively by biodiversity scientists, curators, and experts in citizen science. The project is hosted within the well-established Zooniverse platform (https://www.zooniverse.org/). NFN, first released in April 2013, was newly re-launched in June 2016. The project has been successful, with over 10,000 registered participants providing 1,350,000 transcriptions. Prior to the relaunch, the site featured large sets of images that were open-ended. Since the relaunch of the new NFN platform, the site has hosted smaller expeditions for citizen scientists to work on. These expeditions are sets of images numbering from a few hundred to a few thousand, which are grouped based on a geographic or taxonomic theme. An example would be Pollinator Plants of Virginia, U.S.A. which focused on the plants and their animal pollinators and contained close to 5,000 herbarium images. We predicted that the new expedition model would be more engaging and meaningful to our volunteers. Further, these expeditions provide better recruitment opportunities since they can be aligned with volunteer interests. We compare the statistics between these two approaches to see how effective our new system is at engaging volunteers and increasing transcription rates. We examine metrics such as the number of transcribers versus the number of expeditions. We also examine the impact of our social social media activities on transcription rates. This kind of information will assist managers of citizen science projects in creating efficient ways to engage citizen science volunteers and increase transcription rates.