Accurator: Nichesourcing for Cultural Heritage

Chris Dijkshoorn, Viktor de Boer, Lora Aroyo, Guus Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademic


With the increase of cultural heritage data published online, the usefulness of data in this open context hinges on the quality and diversity of descriptions of collection objects. In many cases, existing descriptions are not sufficient for retrieval and research tasks, resulting in the need for more specific annotations. However, eliciting such annotations is a challenge since it often requires domain-specific knowledge. Where crowdsourcing can be successfully used to execute simple annotation tasks, identifying people with the required expertise might prove troublesome for more complex and domain-specific tasks. Nichesourcing addresses this problem, by tapping into the expert knowledge available in niche communities. This paper presents Accurator, a methodology for conducting nichesourcing campaigns for cultural heritage institutions, by addressing communities, organizing events and tailoring a web-based annotation tool to a domain of choice. The contribution of this paper is fourfold: 1) a nichesourcing methodology, 2) an annotation tool for experts, 3) validation of the methodology in three case studies and 4) a dataset including the obtained annotations. The three domains of the case studies are birds on art, bible prints and fashion images. We compare the quality and quantity of obtained annotations in the three case studies, showing that the nichesourcing methodology in combination with the image annotation tool can be used to collect high-quality annotations in a variety of domains. A user evaluation indicates the tool is suited and usable for domain-specific annotation tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-41
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Computation
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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