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Tools for Transparency: 6 Ways to Crowdsource Government

Tools for Transparency: 6 Ways to Crowdsource Government

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Dec 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tools for Transparency: 6 Ways to Crowdsource Government
 Scott Stadum  Sept. 23, 2010, 2:58 p.m. 
Just a few years ago crowdsourcing was a novel concept, mainly untried. Now thatthe idea has gained traction, it's being used in everything fromcustomer servicetotagging datatomicrovolunteeringtogenerating useful ideas. Crowdsourcing is an invaluable tool for producing fresh ideas quickly andinexpensively. Crowdsourcing,according to Wikipedia, is "the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionallyperformed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (acrowd), through an open call." Usually this is done leveraging the web and oftentimes there's no reward for the work done -- but this isn't always the case. Below are six examples of crowdsourcing that show the potential of the concept.Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor.SunlightCAM"allows anyone to reportinformation on the political advertising they see on TV, hear on theradio or view online." This site crowdsources  the monitoring of political ads, regardless of medium, from all across the country. After the recentCitizens United ruling allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amountsof money right up until election we need crowdsourcing tools like this one more thanever.Challenge.gov A number of US government agencies in collaborationwithChallengePosthave created a portal calledChallenge.govwhich
invites citizens to tackles problems posted by these agencies. Programmableweb.com writes, "these problems or challenges are posted byagencies and citizens are invited to participate in them by supporting them,spreading the word and even solving them to earn recognition and some significantprizes." Earmark Requests This project compiles all federal legislators'earmark requests.Users can easily capture earmark information and enter the data into a form whichthen shows these earmarks on a Google Map. Jim Harper of Washington WatchtellsArs Technica"the most interesting applications might well come from matchingup the earmarks database with existing fundraising databases." Library of CongressThe Extraordinaries, a web app that facilitatesmicrovolunteering through crowsourcing, has teamed up with theLibrary of Congress to tag hundreds of thousands of historicalphotos.Using their application"volunteers digitally label a few photos at a time. Justpick up your smartphone, look at a photo, and tag it. Repeat until bus comes. Withina few weeks of 1000s of people waiting for the #15 bus, entire photographic eras inWorld history could become accessible to the public."  Committee on Ways & Means Redesign TheU.S. House of Representatives teamed up with crowdSPRINGto sponsor a contest toredesign the House Committee on Ways & Means website.Leveraging thecrowdSPRING platform, citizens submitted their committee website redesigns andultimatelythis design was selected and implemented. 

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