* Currently, English is used if we do not have translations


L-Crowd: The Library Crowdsourcing Initiative in Japan

Crowd in "miyakawanowatashi" by Hiroshige Ando (from Wikimedia Commons)

About L-Crowd

The purpose of L-Crowd is to apply crowdsourcing solutions to library problems that cannot be solved in other ways. For example, finding misidentification caused by the automatic method for integrating bibliographic records from different sets of catalogs cannot be performed without human contribution. In L-Crowd, volunteers perform microtasks which are designed to solve such problems in the library domain. Performing a task requires only a short period of time, and your name will appear in the list of contributors. We welcome contributors from any countries over the world. Although some of the microtasks require contributors to have Japanese skill, we also have a set of tasks that can be performed in English and other languages. L-Crowd uses the Crowd4U open crowdsourcing platform and actively adopts advanced functions for crowdsourcing. For example, some of the tasks are distributed through the "Task-on-the-floor" (TOF) system that projects microtasks onto the floor so that people perform the tasks while walking. The TOF system is placed at university campuses. The activity of L-Crowd is in support of National Diet Library, Japan.

TOF System located at the central library of University of Tsukuba


L-Crowd, which was started by LIS and CS researchers in August 2012, is the first large-scale library crowdsourcing initiative in Japan. In October that year, we provided the first set of microtasks to identify misidentifications in the results of automatic identification of bibliographic records conducted by NDL. In March 2013, the contributors who performed microtasks were from more than ten universities in Japan. In 2015, we provided a set of mictorasks to help identify non-textual contents of the NDL's Digital Library from the Meiji Era .


1. Finding misidentifications of bibliographic records

The L-Crowd project calls for "AI workers" which are AI agents that perform the microtasks for the Kyoto-prefecture Union Catalog Project. The details is given in this page (in Japanese).

In this project, we designed microtasks to identify different books that have the same ISBN. The attempt is significant in several ways. First, the result will be open to public and used to improve the quality of bibliographic data. Second, the result will be the first to clarify the actual situation of inappropriate usage of ISBNs. Finally, through the experience, we try to find principles to appropriately design microtasks for library problems.

Task 1: Finding misidentifications (in Japanese)

Perform a task

2. Transcribing books of the Digital Library from Meiji Era

A purpose of this collaborative project is to transcribe Japanese public domain books in the digital repository of the National Diet Library so that Japanese text data can be processed easily in the digital age. It aims to make them searchable from full-text search engines such as Google, Baidu, Bing, and so on in the first phase.

Task 1: Identifying non-textual part of books (Multilingual)

Perform a task

Task 2: Choosing correct characters (in Japanese)
(To appear)


Join the L-Crowd team by making a Crowd4U account and performing microtasks for L-Crowd.

We need your contribution!

We are looking for organizations and people who are interested in joining the initiative.

Contact: lcrowd [] crowd4u.org (please replace [] with @)