Tiltfactor & Dartmouth College Library Launch Game to Identify Alumni

Mary dot Flanagan at Dartmouth dot Edu

Tiltfactor Laboratory and the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College are releasing  “Alum Tag,” an online casual game designed to add metadata to a large collection of photographs donated by Dartmouth alumni to the college’s archives.

The game involves players earning points by tagging photographs with key words. The system then weighs the tags using frequencies and other statistical measures; those that are considered “valid” are associated with the corresponding photograph and stored, essentially creating data about the images.

The goal of the project is to create a place for alumni to add to what we know about the images. Those who recognize people or scenes can add meaningful tags, such as the names of the people and places photographed. The photos from the collection are from the last 60 years. There is almost no identifying information for any of the photos. “I think alumni will know the places and events in these photos almost instinctively,” Flanagan says. “They may be able to identify fraternity/sorority and even the year the photo was taken based on visual clues. It is akin to sleuthing Dartmouth’s past.”

The game demonstrates the flexibility of “Metadata Games — An Open Source Electronic Game for Archival Data Systems”, a larger pilot project. Professor Mary Flanagan, director of Tiltfactor, was awarded a startup grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities, and from the American Council of Learned Societies, for the pilot. The software itself was created with partner Furtherfield, a UK –based non-profit arts organization that aims to create “spaces for appreciating and participating in practices in art, technology and social change”.

Play “Alum Tag” now at alum.metadatagames.dartmouth.edu

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