By Tina Lee

What is it?

QRator is an open authority project offering interactive experiences for visitors.

How does it work

QRator is a website based interactive system for better experiences. It developed a method for listing physical artifacts online which made museums and galleries in a more interactive way. QRator allows visitors and public to type in their thoughts and interpretations of the objects belonging to the Grand Museum of Zoology and the Museum of Brands. People could leave their questions or interpretations on Qrator’s website or through sixteen iPads attached to two museums. Once finished and click “send”, people’s interpretations will become the history of the objects. The comments will displayed via interactive system and ultimately appeare beside the artifacts. Thus, people could find their comments through the label beside the artifacts.

The main page of QRator.



What was the established authority?

The established authority of this project is the Museum of Brands and the Grand Museum of Zoology. The Museum of Brands joins the Grand Museum to have one step ahead for their visitors to have the ability to edit their thoughts of artifacts. The museums have the authority to identify people’s comments and choose top questions for visitors to answer. For instance, on the main page of QRator, museum staff choose several popular questions and images of artifacts for public to explore. People could easily access to the passed questions and enroll in current conversation.

Questions Page:



QRator offers a range of questions of the museums to visitors. People could find conversation and questions on the main page of QRator or the iPads attached in museums. The Grand Museum offers a continual program for visitors to engaged in while provides a way to discuss past questions.


How is it open authority?


QRator is an open authority project because it allows visitors and public to post their questions, conversations and even debate on the website and ultimately become part of the history. Since the comments is featured on the label beside the object, anyone is allowed to leave their thoughts and interpretations to the artifacts. Public are also welcomed to enrolled themselves in passed questions while encouraged to raise new questions as well. Essentially, the goal of the museum is to help visitors to rethink museums is not a place for people to visiting and learning, but also creating and raising questions. Positioning the museums as a place of experimentation, conversation and debate.

Two authorized museums:



How does the crowd help?


The crowd are general public online or visitors who are welcomed to have a tour in their physical museums located in England. As the Museum of Brands featuring over 12,000 items, questions are sort by diverse of categories such as cutting class, climate casualties, really rare and unnatural. People are easily enrolled in questions by click on “What do you think?”.


Interactive, Museum, Artifacts, Interpretations, Ipads.

Other similar samples:

Make History a 9/11 memorial museum that people could add their images or stories around the world.

Brooklyn Museum I like this museum especially it’s “Go” project is a typically open authority  project that allows public to upload studio.

Chicago History Museum: the museum that Lori said:”if Chicago History Museum is not an open authority museum, I don’t know which museums is open authority museum.” People could do dozens of things in this museum such as take photos and “history your home” to help collections, etc.


Artifact GR

by Colleen Snow, Chelsea Tufarolo and Merissa Thomas

Artifact GR is an open authority project by which people blog histories of museum artifacts.

This collaborative project is hosted by the Grand Rapids Public Museum in order to generate oral histories and alternative narratives for the 500 artifacts the museum has collected from Grand Rapids, MI.

Artifact GR’s main page:

How it works:

After a professional photographer photographs the 500 artifacts, the museum uploads the images to the Artifact GR website, powered by WordPress. Visitors to the project’s webpage are encouraged to create a WordPress account and contribute their own histories of the featured artifact in the form of a blog post. Anyone looking at the website can see the blog posts and leave a comment. Eventually, the museum will publish a book that features the 500 images from the Artifact Project along with stories from the blog.

Here’s what one collection looks like:

How it’s Open Authority:

Artifact GR is open authority project because it allows the museum to interact with different areas of expertise within the local Grand Rapids community by inviting librarians, freelance writers, and even the President of Kendall College of Arts and Design to submit a blog post. Since the content is featured on a WordPress platform anyone can participate in the dialogue by leaving a comment or link to other websites. Essentially, the point of the project is to engage residents and museum-goers to reflect on the artifacts, by focusing on the process of generating new oral histories instead of settling with one perspective. In addition, the blog site provides evidence of collaboration through its interactivity.

The established authority for this project is the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The museum controls the content, how it is displayed and how visitors can interact with that content (i.e. the artifacts they choose, who can photograph the artifacts, which will be featured on the project’s webpage and which artifacts visitors can blog about versus just viewing).

The “crowd” is the general public invited by the established authority (the Grand Rapids Public Museum) to share their story about one or more of the 500 artifacts displayed on the project’s website. These stories are based on an individual’s interpretation of the object(s) and can be recorded as a written story or an oral history to be shared alongside the photograph in the digital collection. With the help of the crowd, the museum hopes to preserve the area’s unique history.

Here’s an example of a visitor’s blog post:


Artifact, Museum, Stories, Photographs, Michigan

Examples of similar projects:


-Bailey Edelstein, Cameron Meindl, Jeremy Somani

1.     What is it?

Software that collects/distributes crowdsourced information online.

2.     How does it work?

Ushahidi utilizes three programs called The Ushahidi Platform (a mapping tool software used by devices with online sharing capabilities), the SwiftRiver Platform (a program that condenses and verifies real-time data submitted by a crowdsource), and Crowdmap (Ushahidi’s simplified app with similar functions to Ushahidi Platform) to make information transparent on a global and real-time spectrum. Ushahidi is used globally—from covering elections, widespread health issues, or even threats of terrorism in third world countries to weather warnings close to home in Washington D.C.

3.     What was the established authority?

The established authority of Ushahidi can be seen in its original users.  When the app was created, its main purpose was to alert those in Kenya of violence and corruption surround the 2008 election. Such information was usually either filtered or distributed through channels such as government (local and national), government agencies, the United Nations, corrupt officials or even clean governments. Ushahidi has now provided a channel for verified AND uncensored news to be provided straight to people who need it most.

4.     How does the crowd help?

The crowd contributes by uploading their information via their mobile applications or Internet. They can also supply ideas for enhancing the Ushahidi software and more user-friendly through an open forum on their formal website. Ushahidi offers a “Community Hub,” which provides the organized space for users to bounce around these ideas with others holding a unique login to the site.

5.     Three main screen captures

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6.     How is it open authority?

Ushahidi calls upon the public to utilize their personal digital devices (i.e. Palm Pre, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android and/or the online Crowdmap software) to provide information to the world audience. It is a shareware software that anyone can use to submit any information they deem relevant and newsworthy. Top tier news outlets can regulate the information they share with their consumers, however Ushahidi brings information at your fingertips. Contribution posts are visible to anyone and submitted by the consumers themselves.

7.     Keywords:

Informational platform, crowdsource, de-regulation, news, real-time

8.     Other examples in this genre:

The mapping feature in Ushahidi makes it one of many services in the “crowdsourced maps” genre. Perhaps the most prominent example in this area is OpenStreetMap, which is often referred to as the “Wikipedia of maps.”  Meanwhile, Crowdmap allows users to not only create interactive maps, but also the ability to add media and other captions to the maps they or other users create.

Ushahidi is not the only app doing great things for the people of Kenya and other African countries. Cheetah is a crowdsourced app that reduces crop loss in Africa by providing food transporters, growers and traders with relevant information. The combination of the work done by Ushahidi and Cheetah is truly something to behold, and it can go a long way towards improving millions of lives.  (http://phys.org/news/2013-11-crowdsourcing-app-food-loss-africa.html#jCp)


Hufsa Kamal, Joyce Lu, Victoria Li.

Here’s it is in six words: Crowdsourcing to identify things through satellite.

Tomnod uses crowdsourcing to identify objects/ places in satellite images. It’s used to solve real world problems, using satellite images to explore anywhere on Earth. Tomnod has been used for many things, such as mapping refugee camps in Somalia and locating two American bodies in the Peruvian and Andes Mountains It’s also been used to find tornado damage during the Oklahoma tornados in 2013. Tomnod was started as a research project by four engineering students who graduated from UCSD. It originally sprung up from a National Geographic project in search for Genghis Khan’s tomb in Mongolia. Courtney Love claimed she found the missing plane through Tomnod..she didn’t.

Established authorities include satellite companies, other official investigators or mainstream news media. For example, a couple of days ago, the Washington Post  reported that a Chinese satellite detected an object in jet search area.

Tomnod users are provided random maps from the search area and whenever they see something suspicious they can drop a pin. When there is overlap for people who are tagged in the same location the most visible areas, they will be reported to the authorities.

Here are three main screen capturesScreen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.36.16 PM.pngScreen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.30.17 PM.pngScreen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.29.18 PM.png

Every Tomnod visitor has access to the updated satellite images and is able to tag what they found to contribute to the campaign…which makes it an example of open authority.

Here are a few key words: Crowdsourcing, Humanitarian, Connect, Satellite, Search, Map, Coverage. Other examples in this genre include Unilever, Nokia, General Mills (GenMil), Anheuser-Busch (AB).


Sam Adams Crowd Crafted Beer

Maggie Klee, Carmen Mouynes, Monika Thomas

1. Sam Adams Social Media Created Beer

2. Sam Adams’ online fan base used Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to collaborate and vote on a new Sam Adams beer recipe. Anyone could go on Sam Adams’ Facebook page and using an app, choose their preferred beer characteristics. The app was set up in scale-form so participants would slide along the scale to choose their desired degree of color, clarity, body, hops, and malt. The most popular attributes were then developed into the collaborative ale. Named B’Austin Ale, the crowd crafted beer was brewed in February 2012, and sold in Boston and Austin, Texas through March 2012.

3. In the beer industry, master brewers have the final decision as to what recipe becomes the company’s product. At Sam Adams, the company’s master brewers would typically decide the final make up of each beer. The established authority would be the master brewers.

4. The crowd weighed in on several different categories such as color and clarity. Through social media, anyone could voice their preference and the most popular features were the ones included in the final product. Sam Adams hired social media expert Guy Kawaski to create the Facebook application to get thousands of beer lovers involved. The one setback about the actual product is that it was only sold in Sam Adams’ Boston brewery and in some bars in Austin, Texas. From this information we can see that it was a more of a marketing strategy than a plan to implement a new beer since not everyone that participates can access the product.

Screen Shots:

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5. The crowd-sourced beer project represents open authority because anyone could voice their opinion. The expert beer makers at Sam Adams collaborated with beer drinkers to make something shared between the institution and its audience. Sam Adams designed an app choosing what attributes the participants could vote on and then picked the most popular preferences. The established authority designed the project and organized how the masses could voice their opinions and vote on them. Sam Adams had no input in the recipe of the beer, they just assembled the information to create the crowd-made recipe.

6.  5 keywords: beer, Sam Adams, B’Austin ale, crowd craft, Guy Kawaski

7. Other Examples: Lays “Do Us a Flavor,” Mountain Dew “Dub the Dew,” Coca Cola with Maroon 5 “24 Hour Session,” Kit Kat Chunky bars




Open Street Maps

By: Taylor Shaw, Mia Miller and Lola Yang

Open Street Maps is a free editable map of your world.

The site allows users to map or tag familiar places: neighborhoods, communities or shopping centers.

You know your surroundings better than anyone. This site attests to that.

For example, type in American University’s address.

Here’s what we found after keying in the address.

We are very familiar with American’s campus. We noticed that Bender Arena was not label. So we added the tag.

Some places may not show up on the map when you search for them. This just means the area was not created yet. This allows you to pioneer the address or site by adding buildings, streets, monuments and green space.

The crowd is the major contributor to OpenStreetMap. The maps created are in the public domain, unlike Google Maps. The concept of OpenStreetMap is collaborative and relies on different editor for contributions. This makes it similar to  Wikipedia.

OpenStreetMap is open authority because anyone can use the data for any purpose as long as they credit the site and it’s contributors. They can even edit, build on, and alter OSM as long as they keep the finished product under the same license. If you do not register for an account, you will not be able to see any significant data.


Mapping, crowd-sourcing, creative commons,  customizable and FREE.

Here’s a list of similar sites to Open Street Maps:

http://www.opencyclemap.org/ – Maps designed for cyclists, showing cycle routes and infrastructure, and emphasizing useful amenities.

http://open.mapquest.com/ – MapQuest Open, Describe and make maps for yourself, share with the world and discover other’s marks on the map.

Women In Science Edit-A-Thon

At the Smithsonian Institution Archives I worked on a woman scientist and journalist by the name of Marjorie Van de Water. I found it interesting that she worked alongside multiple women who like her had an interest in science but most importantly journalism who received numerous awards for her articles that were published.  Her  interest strongly aligned with my interest in sociology and journalism, as well as my new found interest in science due to my graduate research work.  I also find it interesting that there is no documentation of her date of birth, maybe once someone see’s that she has a page more information might start to pour in, gaps like that will be filled.


Marjorie Van de Water’s article was a blank slate when I started, it only linked to a page that should be used to start the article. Before we started editing we were given an overview of the archives and the types of material that they housed.  I initially thought that they would be providing information to us that we could use to fill in the gaps to create great articles.

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The first item I worked with was her name and then the infobox with her photo, date of birth/death, citizenship and he field of study. Then I gave a basic description of who she was and what she did under her name on the left hand side, added a link and created the references section for the page.  Some challenges I found in creating a Wikipedia page for her was the lack of information online.  I did manage to come across a lot of her articles that were published though out the journalism industry but none of those could be used to really describe who she was and what she contributed as a women scientist.  She already had images on Wikimedia commons that the archives already uploaded so I didn’t have an issues with licensing like some of my classmates.  And, no issues came up with finding references, but more so with finding direct sources.

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For me it’s hard to say we we could do collectively to help build  a support form female scientist on Wikipedia.  If we did something, I think the best approach would need to be centered around getting more people familiar with wikipedia and allow for more than just a day to write and work on addressing the issues with their lack a visibility. This should be like a movement where we can involve other schools and universities to chime in and help with getting these women pages.  It could be like a month where every month we address an issue revolving around a lack of “something” on Wikipedia that way the issues can be addressed and it could be more than just talking about something, and it becomes something we actually do.

Women in Science Edit-a-thon

Nellie A. Brown was pathologist for the Department of Agriculture, and studied bacterial diseases in plants during the early 20th century. She helped to describe the organism responsible for crown gall, or tumor growths on plants. Brown graduated in 1901 from the University of Michigan with a concentration in botany, and continued her postgraduate work at the University of California. She then devoted 5 years as a high school teacher in both Michigan and Florida, until she was appointed an assistant pathologist position at the DOA in 1910. Brown would work in Erwin Frink Smith’s laboratory (USDA), which, surprisingly, would frequently hire women assistants. Brown eventually becomes an associate pathologist for the lab in 1925. Little is known outside of Brown’s 35year career because of her lack of participation in the scientific organizations she was apart of. But her authorship of several publications speaks to the importance of her work.

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The article had some misinformation about her education and the dates of her employment positions. I noticed that the sources one editor used didn’t cite any of its information, so I became skeptical and decided to research scholarly publications, such as  “The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient times to the Mid-20th Century, “ which popped up in Google Books.  Her biography was short, but the pivotal dates in her life were supported with complete sources. The article had already included an info box along with a photo found at the Smithsonian Archives, so there wasn’t too much to add.

I still have questions about citations, for instance if we use the same source consecutively, how should I format the reference list? See citations 6 and 7 for reference:

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I had already discussed this with Prof. Lih but I had issues with our last Edit-a-thon, simply because there was a lack of non-white AMERICAN female scientists on the list. Organizations cannot claim to tackle diversity issues within the way history is written in Wikipedia, if they themselves exclude subjects and people who don’t fit into a “traditional” mold.


Women in Science Edit-A-Thon

Before I decided to major in communications, I considered majoring in biology or ecology. I received Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man as a graduation present and was obsessed with her life story all summer long. I, too, wanted to travel to far off, exotic lands, performing field research from the light of a candle in a makeshift tent. While that dream has transformed since then and continues to transform, I am still fascinated by the work researchers perform in the field. So when I had to choose a woman scientist for the Women in Science edit-a-thon, I chose physiologist and research scientist Mary Hagedorn.

While I wasn’t too familiar with what a physiologist does (thanks to the Wikipedia article on physiology, I have a better idea of the profession!), I found her work to be really interesting. Global warming and overfishing of the oceans threatens the life span of over half of the world’s coral reefs. In response to this, Hagedorn has adopted the method of cryopreservation, the freezing of sperm and embryos, to her coral preservation efforts. The frozen sperm that Hagedorn collects eventually makes its way to a sperm bank in the lab, where it will stay frozen for years. Hagedorn has supposedly frozen over one trillion coral sperm and continues to collect more every year. These sperm can later be used to restore, and even rebuild, damaged reefs. Her collection is one of a kind, and it is what makes her research so impressive, brilliant and, of course, deserving of an article on Wikipedia.

Before last Tuesday, an article for Mary Hagedorn did not exist. The day of the edit-a-thon, I created an information box,


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wrote an introduction paragraph, developed a table of contents, uploaded an image of Mary Hagedorn to Wikimedia Commons,

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added categories and gathered sources.

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It was actually quite impressive how much I was able to complete in just 45 minutes, especially since I still consider myself a novice Wikipedia contributor. Since then, I inserted Mary Hagedorn’s photo into her Wikipedia article from Commons, included more information about her life, research and honors in the article and learned how to properly source references that are used multiple times within an article.

Besides me, there has been only one other user, BD2412, who has made a contribution to the article. When I was describing research that Hagedorn performed in the Amazon, I put brackets around Amazon in order to link it to the Amazon Wikipedia article. Instead of linking to the Amazon Basin article, though, it linked to the article about Amazon.com. I didn’t catch my mistake, but luckily BD2412, who has a Master Editor III title, caught the glitch and fixed it.

While I have enjoyed working on this article, I did encounter some challenges. First, I had some trouble with finding sources. I was only able to find three really good sources of information about Hagedorn’s life and research from the Smithsonian Institute, the New York Times and an online publication supported by Johns Hopkins University. All the other search results were links to Mary Hagedorn’s social media profiles.

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Considering how unique Hagedorn’s research is, I was shocked and disappointed that there were no articles about Mary Hagedorn from science journals and/or magazines.

A second issue that I encountered was with licensing. I found a picture of Mary Hagedorn on her biography from the Smithsonian Institute’s website. When I uploaded the image to Wikimedia Commons, I was unsure of how to determine the licensing. I considered the image to be valid for public use because the government administers the Smithsonian Institution and government materials are open to the public. However, I wasn’t entirely sure and needed to double check with Professor Lih, who gave me the final okay. Overall, though, I feel like I’m never too sure if I can use an image or video, and I am overly cautious about getting in trouble for a licensing issue. This is clearly an issue that I need to work out for future edit-a-thins as well as general editing.

In general, I found I was the most productive during this edit-a-thon. After several months of editing and attending two edit-a-thons, I felt a lot more comfortable with the collaborative editing process. I never thought that I would create a Wikipedia article by myself, but I was really confident and ready for the challenge. I also found the topic to be very interesting and inspiring. I commend the Smithsonian Institute for the wonderful work they’ve been doing so far to raise awareness about women in science. In order to further this goal, the Smithsonian could try to pair up with the History Channel/Discovery Channel or a mainstream science magazine like Popular Science to have a feature article or documentary about women in science. They could even try to pair up with local libraries or bookstores in the area to do special events during Women’s History Month such as a reading followed by discussion or a small experiment for kids. They could then promote these events/documentaries/articles on their social media platforms. Hopefully, they can then gain a larger audience who is interested in the subject…and possibly interested in participating in another women in science edit-a-thon!



The woman scientist that I’ve worked on was Margaret Eliza Maltby. She was an American physicist known for the measurement of high electrolytic resistances and conductivity of very dilute solutions.

I think the most interesting and also the amazing thing about her is that she was the first American woman allowed to take a degree at University of Göttingen back in 1895.  And she never married in her 83-year of life but adopted a son from a close friend of hers.

Before I edited her wikipedia page, her articles were already in a good shape. They almost covered everything that I can found about her on the web.  UCLA created a electronic archive of “Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics”, in there Maltby was documented and most of her Wikipedia articles came from.

I went to SIA’s page and found some detailed education information about her and added to the page. And I also find a good solution photo of her that I wanted to put in the article. So I used the SIA licence to do that. I was also the first I used license when uploading photo on Wiki Commons. And I found that there is also a long list of all the license that you can use when uploading images that are from museums, government offices, etc.


I didn’t accomplish too many things on the editing day because of the time.  Her article seems already in a good condition and I just put more citations here and there. Afterwards that day, I add a info box of her.

Sometimes the museum cannot do all the work and cover every women scientist. So the cooperation and help from the major universities’ archives and museums is really important because some of the scientists have worked there. Their work places must have more detailed information about them than the national museum. Like this time I found the UCLA’s archive of women physicists, they have a list of 85 women physicists and all of them have good and detailed articles that SIA doesn’t have.