The concept of crowdsourcing is something that has largely evolved during the past decade, and it is a term that tends to be widely used without any of us necessarily thinking too hard about what exactly we mean by it. This compact volume by Daren Brabham – part of MIT Press’ series Essential Knowledge – seeks to clarify what crowdsourcing is and, equally importantly, what it isn’t, before going on to analyse the past, present and potential futures of the arena.
Solidifying out of the emergence of a more generally interactive internet in the early 2000s, crowdsourcing has certainly had its fair share of definitions. Brabham takes a stand early in the text by producing a composite description based on published work over the past five years or so. His short-form definition, which is expanded on later, is that crowdsourcing is a “deliberate blend of bottom-up, open, creative process with top-down organizational goals”. This is a rather narrower definition than the one I had been intuitively expecting, and it does lead to some interesting – and perhaps surprising – exclusions.
Read full review in Times Higher Education.