August 1, 2014


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IMLS Contact
Giuliana Bullard, 202-653-4799

Dartmouth College Contact
Amy D. Olson


IMLS Awards Crowdsourcing Grant to Tiltfactor Laboratory at Dartmouth College

Tiltfactor will develop crowdsourcing consortium for cultural heritage institutions

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a National Leadership Grant for Libraries award of $99,768 to Tiltfactor Laboratory— an interdisciplinary innovation studio at Dartmouth College dedicated to designing and studying games for social impact. The grant will be used to establish a Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA), which will unite leading-edge technology groups in libraries and archives as well as humanities scholars across the United States in a conversation about best practices, shared toolsets, and strategies for using crowdsourcing. The consortium members will explore how institutions might best adopt and employ crowdsourcing strategies for use in collecting metadata, integrating data into existing collections, and increasing user engagement.

The CCLA project lead is Mary Flanagan, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth, who as founding director of Tiltfactor, has extensive experience with crowdsourcing and developing engaging games, which enable one to think about important social issues. One such platform that harnesses the power of crowdsourcing is Tiltfactor’s Metadata Games, a project that enables cultural institutions to further their knowledge about their collections through games that collect keywords about images (tags or metadata) from their collections, which in turn, help make the digital content searchable later.

IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth said, “Given the increasing volume of digital content made available by libraries, archives and museums, the practice of crowdsourcing holds great potential to address the challenge of providing item level metadata needed to support online search and access. We anticipate that this project will lead to a community of practice that will not only help libraries and archives address their metadata needs, but also engage their virtual visitors in new and exciting ways.”

The goal of CCLA is to create a forum for leaders and innovators from cultural heritage institutions with digitized collections to discuss how crowdsourcing tools and platforms can be used to enhance collections and users’ experiences. In addition to creating a national consortium, the project will: host a set of five meetings across the country (both in-person and via webinar) uniting various stakeholders; establish a website with information on best practices, which will also allow for the exchange of ideas online; and publish a white paper on the consortium’s findings. Institutions interested in joining the Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives should email


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Tiltfactor Laboratory at Dartmouth College
Tiltfactor Laboratory, a design studio based at Dartmouth College, is dedicated to understanding how games can be used to generate new knowledge. Tiltfactor designs, studies, and launches games, across a variety of platforms, that use core psychological principles and strategies to promote learning and impact players’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Founded and led by Dr. Mary Flanagan, Tiltfactor uses its unique design methodology, Critical Play, to incorporate fundamental human values and psychological principles to promote pro-social values such as cooperation, perspective taking, empathy, and civic engagement. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter via @tiltfactor and @criticalplay.