Today I want to start something new. We’ve been collecting photos and collaborating with people from all over the world for a while now, and it has been a lot of fun so far. We just hit 7000 photo uploads and are just about to complete the first 1000 app downloads. Plus, there are already several projects experimenting with Lingscape for research and teaching. I’m very happy about the progress and success of the project up until now. But there’s more to explore. As I explained in a blog entry some months ago, citizien science does not only mean to value the participants’ contributions to the project. The real challenge is to empower people to contribute valuable research by themselves. This can be achieved by opening up the entire research process to them, from project implementation over data processing to communication of results.
So, starting today I want to launch a new activity for the project that revolves around everything related to working with the app and data as well as to our citizen science approach in general. It is – how very boring – a project blog, but hopefully it’s gonna be a different one. I call it “Tapping together. A collaborative story”. The idea for the blog is not only to inform the public about what is going on in the project but to collaboratively write the story of Lingscape, namely of the many fascinating things that can happen if we challenge our traditional research routines to focus on public participation and societal engagement.
So basically every single one of you, whether citizen scientist or project member, teacher or student, aficionado or newbie, is invited to share his.her experiences with the app, to write reportages about field trips or school projects, to analyze data, or reflect the merits and challenges of a citizen science approach to linguistic landscaping. Hopefully, the blog will not become one of these stories that is kept alive only by a desperate project manager – or Lingscape officer in this case – but an open and multi-facetted panorama of what I believe to be a very exciting project.
Of course there will be a certain body of content that will be delivered by myself or other people affiliated with the project. Still, I’m inviting everyone who wants to participate in this experiment to contribute their story. That bears, like the whole idea of a citizen science project, a certain risk (especially of nothing happening at all). But personally speaking that is exactly what fascinates me most about the project: not to know where this approach of empowering people to develop and contribute their own perspectives on our common research topic will lead me.
So, whether you want to share your experiences with the app or have been tinkering with the data on the online map, let me know about it – and let the story begin. I’m looking forward to read your contributions to our collaborative Lingscape story.
PS. If you want to contribute your story, feel free to use the language you feel most comfortable with.