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Duration 00:54:33

Galaxy Zoo and old weather: exploring the potential of citizen science

A team at Oxford University has launched a range of ‘citizen science’ projects, all aimed at delivering real research through the efforts of a large community of public volunteers. ‘Old Weather’ is the first non-astronomical project for the team and asks members of the public to transcribe Royal Navy ships logs from the First World War – to date more than two million entities have been transcribed.

The team has previously enjoyed great success with ‘Galaxy Zoo’. By asking hundreds of thousands of members of the public to classify galaxies by their shape, Galaxy Zoo produced a fantastically rich dataset of more than 100 million galaxy classifications that has resulted in more than 25 peer-reviewed publications. In this talk, Dr Arfon Smith discusses the potential of citizen science and ‘crowdsourcing’ for large digital collections.

Dr Smith studied Chemistry at the University of Sheffield and then went on to complete his PhD in Astrochemistry at The University of Nottingham in 2006. He then worked as a software developer in the Production Software Group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, before moving to his current position in Oxford Astrophysics in January 2009.

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