Nichesourcing: Harnessing the Power of Crowds of Experts

Presented at: 18th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (EKAW2012)

by Victor De Boer, Michiel Hildebrand, Lora Aroyo, Pieter De Leenheer, Chris Dijkshoorn, Binyam Tesfa, Guus Schreiber

In this position paper we identify nichesourcing, a specific form of human-based computation that harnesses the computational efforts from niche groups rather than the ``faceless crowd''. In the past six years, crowdsourcfing has achieved mainstream recognition as a cheap and fast way to collect large quantities of data. However, experiences in different domains have shown that crowdsourcing has serious drawbacks with respect to supporting complex user tasks and achieving the right level of quality of the result. Moreover, crowdsourcing initiatives require continuous attention in terms of maintaining a highly motivated crowd. We claim that nichesourcing combine the strengths of the crowd with those of professionals, optimizing the result of human-based computation for certain tasks. We illustrate our claim using scenarios in two domains: cultural heritage and regreening in Africa. The contribution of this paper is to provide a definition of the main characteristics of nichesourcing as a natural extension of crowdsourcing and to outline research challenges for realizing nichesourcing applications.

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