The Crowd Lab was well represented at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) Creativity & Innovation Day, an annual event at VT full of demos, presentations, and artworks that represent the cutting-edge intersection of art, design, science, and engineering.
We presented demos for five of our projects: Civil War Photo Sleuth, Connect the Dots, GroundTruth, Incite, and Personalized Paths. It was a pleasure to share our work with many VT faculty members, staff, students, and members of the Blacksburg community.
The Crowd Lab fared well at this year’s annual VTURCS (Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research in Computer Science) Spring Symposium. Civil War Photo Sleuth won first place, and Flud won third place, in the Faculty Choice Awards category. Over 30 projects were judged at the symposium, and the awards include a cash prize. Congratulations to Nam, Abby, David, and their graduate student mentors on this accomplishment!
Dr. Luther presented the lab’s research on crowdsourced image geolocation and the GroundTruth project at Carnegie Mellon University. He was an invited speaker for the Crowdsourcing Lunch Seminar hosted by the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII).
Dr. Luther is Co-PI for a new award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program. The title of the project is “The American Soldier Collaborative Digital Archive.” The one-year, $50,000 award will support planning to expand our Incite software, originally developed for crowdsourced Civil War history, to the new domain of World War 2 history. The PI is Dr. Ed Gitre of Virginia Tech’s History Department.
Please read the press release, and the abstract below:
The American Soldier Collaborative Digital Archive is a project to make available to scholars and to the public a remarkable collection of written reflections on war and the armed forces by American soldiers who fought in the Second World War. In the 1940s, more than 60,000 military personnel responded in their own words to questions posed by the War Department’s new Research Branch about their time in the service. These survey responses were analyzed, summarized, and interpreted by a team of social and behavioral scientists, who after the war reported their findings in a four-volume work, The American Soldier (1949-50). While the Branch’s quantitative data was later digitized and is available through the Roper Center at Cornell University and the National Archives, the responses themselves, the very personal words of thousands of soldiers, have long remained available only to those who could to travel to Washington, DC to read the text on microfilm. Ultimately, we plan to build an online digital archive of approximately 72,000 images of the handwritten survey responses and to provide a tool that will allow these images to be transcribed by students, scholars, and the public so as to render the text searchable. In this way, we propose to quite literally write these tens of thousands of personal expressions of soldiers into the historical record. We are requesting $50,000 from the NEH to fund a yearlong planning process for this project that will enable discussions among experts from multiple organizations in military history, social science research, crowdsourced transcription, digital archiving, and interactive web design. By the end of the grant period year in spring of 2018, we will produce a list of any related primary or secondary material to be linked to or included in the digital archive; a document of technical requirements for the digital archive at its largest scale; a robust data management plan for the image and text data to ensure that it is accessible for the long term; an outreach plan to ensure that the project becomes known to willing transcribers and interested researchers; and a set of agreements concerning the work and other commitments required by involved organizations and individuals. This project seeks to contribute to the NEH’s “Common Ground” initiative and within it the “Standing Together” initiative.
Dr. Luther accepted an invitation to serve on the program committee for the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2018). He previously served on the CSCW program committees for 2015 and 2016.
Dr. Luther’s NSF CAREER Award, a five-year grant to study expert-led crowdsourcing and build a platform for crowdsourced photo investigations called CrowdSleuth, was covered in a press release by Virginia Tech News. This news story appeared on the home page for vt.edu and the VT College of Engineering.
Some preliminary results from our interview study of crowdsourced image geolocation will be be presented as a poster at Collective Intelligence 2017 in New York City. Rachel Kohler, a computer science master’s student in the Crowd Lab, is leading this study, with assistance from Caroline Ritchey, an undergraduate double-majoring in national security and history.
Virginia Tech News published a press release featuring GraphCrowd and the NIH Big Data to Knowledge grant led by Dr. Kurt Luther and Dr. T.M. Murali. This news story appeared on the home page for vt.edu and the VT College of Engineering.
Our Mapping the Fourth of July project and Incite software were featured in the Project Showcase of History@Work, the official blog of the National Council on Public History (NCPH).
Dr. Luther received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his proposal, titled, Transforming Investigative Science and Practice with Expert-Led Crowdsourcing. This program “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” The award is for $554,628 over a five-year period and is funded through the Cyber-Human Systems (CHS) core program.