Presented crowdsourced history research at University of Virginia


Dr. Luther and collaborator Dr. Paul Quigley of Virginia Tech’s Dept. of History presented their work on Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era and a new digital history project, Civil War Photo Sleuth. These invited presentations were part of a meeting on Civil War History and Digital Methodology hosted by the new Nau Center for Civil War History at UVA.

Received NIH grant to study crowdsourced graph layouts

We received an NIH grant to study how crowdsourcing might be used to improve the layouts of biological graph visualizations. This project is a collaboration between Dr. Kurt Luther (MPI) and Dr. T.M. Murali (MPI) at Virginia Tech and Zooniverse, the world’s largest online citizen science portal. The grant is approximately $620,000 over two years and is part of the NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program.

Interviewed for IEEE Spectrum article on crowdsourcing

IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine of IEEE, interviewed Dr. Luther for an article about running successful crowdsourcing campaigns. Some of his comments:

After a project’s launch, says Kurt Luther, director of the Crowd Lab at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, collaborators must maintain open lines of communication and remember that contributors are real human beings. Developers, he says, tend to forget.

“Many project owners are software developers who think of the crowdsourced human intelligence in their systems as just another resource, like disk space or bandwidth,” Luther says. But if users are dehumanized and not treated well, word spreads fast through online forums.

Mapping the Fourth of July goes public

Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era has launched! Mapping the Fourth is a crowdsourced digital archive that explores how Americans celebrated the Fourth of July while their nation was being torn apart. It is built with Incite, a plug-in developed by the Crowd Lab for the Omeka content management system.

This project, funded by the National Archives, is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Dr. Paul Quigley (PI) of the History Dept., Dr. Kurt Luther (Co-PI) of the Computer Science Dept., and Dr. David Hicks (Co-PI) of the School of Education, all at Virginia Tech.

To help promote the launch, Virginia Tech wrote up a wonderful press release that was featured on the home page all Fourth of July weekend. Additionally, Dr. Quigley mentioned the project in his op-ed on Civil War-era Independence Day in the Roanoke Times.

Wikimedia funds enhancements to ProveIt

The Wikimedia Foundation has awarded a grant to Felipe Schenone to make improvements to ProveIt.

Dr. Luther led the team that developed ProveIt when he was at Georgia Tech. ProveIt is a Wikipedia gadget that provides a friendly user interface for managing references in Wikipedia articles. The gadget has since been integrated into the English-language Wikipedia and has over 7,000 active users. This work was also demoed at the WikiSym conference in 2009.

Divit Singh successfully defends MS thesis

Divit Singh, a member of the Crowd Lab and computer science MS student co-advised by Dr. Luther and Dr. T.M. Murali, successfully defended his master’s thesis today. Divit contributed to GraphSpace, an online hub for sharing biological network data; and GraphCrowd, an extension for crowdsourcing the visualization of these networks. Divit also conducted several experiments showing that GraphCrowd generates network layouts that are as effective as those created by expert biologists. Congrats Divit!

Finalist for CHI 2016 Student Research Competition

Congrats to Ph.D. student Nai-Ching Wang, who was a finalist in graduate student division of the CHI 2016 Student Research Competition. His paper is titled, “Crowdnection: Connecting High-level Concepts with Historical Documents via Crowdsourcing.” He traveled to San Jose, CA to attend the conference and present his research to a panel of expert judges.