Science Needs You!
February 7, 2018 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Zooniverse [previously] currently has 73 active projects they need your help with—ranging from transcribing the handwritten correspondence of anti-slavery activists to annotating the Tate; from tagging animals captured on camera traps throughout Africa, zooming in to cordon off cell nuclei in electron microscope snapshots, or zooming out to explore our home galaxy's wierdnesses . There's something in there that will that pique your interest and send you down the rabbit hole of searching and tagging. Why? Because you are still a better spotter of stuff than a computer at these tasks, you will be doing a mitzvah for the corpus of SCIENCE!, and you may see a heckin' fuzza cheetah kitteh along the way.
posted by not_on_display (20 comments total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
Is it wrong that I thought of a completely different Zooniverse?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:15 PM on February 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love Zooniverse!
posted by greermahoney at 7:16 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Now, my question is, are any of these projects accessible to the blind? The examples mentioned in the FPP seem to be pretty visual in nature, obviously I'm not great at tagging photos or transcribing hand-written letters. Still, the mind wonders.
posted by Alensin at 7:20 PM on February 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Jesus christ, that UI on the anno.tate site is an aggressive, active disincentive to help. Every click fosters umpteen additional clicks and endless “are you sure?” type dialogs.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:35 PM on February 7, 2018

Sadly, I don't think 90% of these will work for me. The "radio and TV credits," one sounds potentially promising, but the rest are very much hand-written. My screen reader has an OCR feature, and perhaps when I'm feeling sufficiently motivated I'll try it on some of the images, but I'm doubtful.
posted by Alensin at 7:59 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

What a cool project. I like to feel like I'm doing something slightly useful when I'm wasting time on the internet, and maybe eventually I'll feel confident distinguishing a wildebeest haunch from a buffalo haunch.
posted by mrmurbles at 8:00 PM on February 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

you can find oil spills and flooded wastewater treatment after Harvey using Cartoscope
posted by eustatic at 12:33 AM on February 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm involved with a project that is using crowdsourcing like this. (Transcribing letters and notebooks by early Australian anthropologists that have super interesting info about the tribes of the Melbourne region.) I love seeing the wide range of people who contribute (and wondering about their motivations).

We looked into Zooniverse but didn't like the interface. We use From the Page, which is pretty great. You can see it (and contribute!) here. Unfortunately it's also not accessible to people with visual impairments, sorry.
posted by lollusc at 3:13 AM on February 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

Austin, that's a really interesting question. I wonder if anyone is doing citizen science on vocalizations. My friends who are working on calling behavior all have small enough data sets that they can handle it, and/or they've developed algorithms to classify what they're hearing. I'll ask around.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:48 AM on February 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Pretty cool, just spent a couple of minutes working on tuberculosis! They really made it as easy and straight-forward for a non-scientist as possible but I still have a bit of "am I doing this right?!" nervousness that will probably go away with practice. Thanks! I've been wondering what to do with my extra "need something to do while listening to the tv after dinner" time.
posted by jenjenc at 5:55 AM on February 8, 2018

Yeah I expect to burn through some transcriptions this very weekend, thanks!
posted by Busithoth at 6:23 AM on February 8, 2018

I’m also a huge fan of this transcription project: Between the Bars. You translate handwritten or typed letters from prisoners so that they’ll be more accessible. I find the easiest way is to read the letters aloud into my phone via voice-text and edit as needed, rather than typing from scratch.
These are forgotten/ignored voices. I’m glad to give them a signal boost by making their words searchable.
posted by greermahoney at 6:57 AM on February 8, 2018 [9 favorites]

I did some of the tagging animals one, and it gives you a grid of a bunch of animals. you can click on it and it will give options of what the animal is doing and how many, youn g present etc. One of the animals is the Honey Badger. a addition question is present…."Don't Care? Yes or No"

Just made me laugh
posted by ShawnString at 7:04 AM on February 8, 2018 [9 favorites]

On the projects suitable for the blind, I'm not immediately sure but I pinged some people that might know.

Naively I'd think that something like Planet Hunters might be adaptable as it's time series data that could be translated into audio, but I'm not aware of that having been done.
posted by edd at 7:35 AM on February 8, 2018

I love seeing the wide range of people who contribute (and wondering about their motivations).

Well, I'm a reader on LibriVox because I love to read, I love helping others to read, I love open/libre projects, and, obviously, I love the sound of my own voice.
posted by eclectist at 8:38 AM on February 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also, Zooniverse's Wikipedia page has a good rundown of their projects, with brief synopses of each.
posted by not_on_display at 10:00 AM on February 8, 2018

Well looking at that list Bat Detective seems to have an audio component. Perhaps that's accessible for visual impairments?
posted by edd at 2:08 PM on February 8, 2018

My kids like to do the space ones on lazy afternoons, we'll sit and tag space images for half an hour at a time.

I like doing the plant ID ones, where you digitize old botanical specimen books, and I've typed a lot of old etymology records line-by-line (which I think is a finished project now).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:38 PM on February 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

My SO wanted something like this to do in her spare time, (helpful volunteering without too much fuss), and was delighted when I shared it. Dove into something immediately.

Thanks for sharing!
posted by mordax at 6:58 PM on February 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is fun and interesting to see very similar implementations of the same thing. So like I was doing Wisconsin Wildlife cam for a while and then moved over to NY Wildlife cam and ... it sucks! I mean it just uses a slightly different interface but it's a little harder to deal with and so... back to Wisconsin. And then I went to look at some of other people's favorites and MAN, MontanaCam was really something else (somewhat gory dead animal shot, but EAGLES)
posted by jessamyn at 11:03 AM on February 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

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