Crowdsourcing: “Wikipedia—But For Books?”
“The platform is a simple one: There is no going into the manuscript and fiddling, a la Wikipedia, here. Instead, it’s built on a forum system that “allows contributors to post suggestions online, tagged with a section number for the relevant passage of the book,” says [Hector] Macdonald. “They can also categorize their suggestion as, for example, ‘Error’ or ‘Bright Idea’.”
Crowdsourcing creativity is nothing new–from casting movies to remakes of RoboCop to Off-Broadway plays–yet it’s hard to imagine the editing process being thrown open to any old Joe. But one of Advance Editions‘ authors, Heidi Kingstone, whose book Dispatches From the Kabul Cafe chronicles her years as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, sees it differently.
“There is so much history and so many different perspectives in Afghanistan,” she told me. “So many experts and people with incredible experience that… might help make the book richer.” In her estimation, the book is an “extra layer of research.”
“Advance’s idea isn’t to reduce the expertise of its edits, but rather to introduce an extra layer of editing between first edit and lastedit. Is Macdonald aiming a blow at the publishing industry? “Advance Editions is certainly no threat to regular publishers–we’re tiny, and will remain so for the foreseeable future,” he says.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.